This week is Children’s Mental Health Week, a national incentive first launched in 2015 with the Duchess of Cambridge as Patron.
At Carrdus we have been using a range of creative methods to allow the boys and girls to express themselves. At a time when the spotlight is on the importance of the mental health of our children, we are able to use these creative tools to share our feelings.
This year’s theme is ‘Express Yourself’ and our Teaching staff have found many ways in which we can do so through dance, art, writing, playing games and taking part in mindfulness activities.
Our teaching and support staff encourage our girls and boys to feel good about themselves in all that they do and emphasise that they do not necessarily need to feel as though they have to be the best at everything they do.
From Play-Dough therapy to Worry Boxes, Yoga and Meditation to Drama and class quizzes, each year group is spending time this week talking through their thoughts and feelings with their class teachers and peers, while learning how to ‘be present’ and thinking about how and what they can do to help others who may be going through a worrying time in their life.
Using Play-Dough as a mindfulness activity is becoming increasingly popular, especially with younger children and at Carrdus, we combine them both in Nursery and Reception classes. Not only does it help to develop the muscles of the hands and build fine motor skills, it is also a way to aid relaxation, increase attention and relieve stress.
This week, our Year 1 children have been making Worry Boxes. We have found this a useful tool to help children share their feelings in the classroom and especially for those who may struggle with confidence or talking about their worries in a group setting. It is a great way for the Teacher to take the lead and address any concerns or problems head on whilst maintaining anonymity. Overall, we hope to create a harmonious classroom that nurtures resilience in our children, just one element of the Carrdus Pathway.
Year 2 have been using Drama and creative theatre to express themselves through short plays. Led by their Teacher, the children talk through their feelings and concerns and discuss how to tackle and overcome them. Furthermore, the children are writing Happiness Journals in which they can write positive messages and feel confident that their concerns are valid.
Year 3 have been creating their own Well-Being Journals, detailing what makes them happy, which activities they use to conquer any worries, along with talking about PE and movement and how this can contribute to our overall mental health. They have been practising Yoga and breathing techniques each day this week during and have found this a real benefit in setting them up their daily Carrdus Distance Learning Program.
Year 4 have been primarily focusing on Mindfulness Music and Art. These therapeutic activities can help explore emotion, develop self-awareness and boost self-esteem. By practicing art and music every day in our purpose-built Art studio, children can build on their social skills and can use Art to cope with stressful situations.
Years 5 and 6 have been indulging in Guided Meditation sessions, daily mental health check-in’s run by their class teachers and fun activities each day to recognise how laughing can boost your mood. The children contribute to class discussions and learn how they can check with their friends on how they are feeling and to help one another feel happy.
Let us know what you do to overcome your worries, it might be something we can incorporate into the online classroom!