This project focussed on pupil’s well -being by developing a range of physical activity that we knew suited our pupils and also developing their mindfulness. Our pupils had no understanding of mindfulness , what it entailed so we sought expertise from a trainer in mindfulness. Our project was in line with whole school priorities developing pupil’s mental health and well- being and developing individual models that help pupil’s thrive. For example – Students in B Class have ASD and Moderate to Severe Learning Difficulties. In order for students to have a healthy life style and improved health and well -being it was felt visits to a gym would instil some good life habits/routines and support development of social skills when out in the community.
What did we do?
We engaged all pupils and staff in this project and developed individual plans for pupils by offering them a tailor made programme of physical activity and relaxation programmes. All our staff workforce also participated in ‘mindfulness training.
What has been the impact?
The program has benefited staff and parents by promoting this work and showing parents the value of such a programme. Parents have seen the benefits regular exercise can have on their young people and some parents have now joined the gym to promote fitness with their son/daughter. They have reported that their child has been less ‘moody’ and is sleeping better.
In our ASD class at Trinity, students developed some stamina and a good understanding of what you can do in a gym. They developed an interest in using the gym. One student has now become a member of her local gym with her mother and another 2 are considering it.
Staff felt the activity side was a worthwhile addition to the curriculum and felt more able to deliver sports activities in different ways. In addition, during the athlete sessions, students learnt and articulated the impact of lifestyle factors (sleep and diet) on mental health and identified actions to improve in those areas.
Mindfulness training has increased knowledge of staff, parents and pupils and pupils now see the importance of switching off and learning how to calm down.
Our teachers have benefited by learning about Mindfulness, using the resources that had been developed and using them in their own classrooms. This gave us wider school benefits. All partner schools were given these resources and reported using them in PSHE and RSE lessons.