Mental Health and Wellbeing in focus - July 2020 -
Welcome to the second Flourishing Lives Newsletter. I sincerely hope that you are keeping well and that you, your families and your schools are COVID-19 free! This month’s focus is mental wellbeing. I hope you find the following really helpful and I look forward to working with you on your ‘Flourishing Lives’ September journey, helping you to work from where your pupils ‘are at’ to support their reintegration into school and to focus on improving their wellbeing in this post-lockdown KS2 curriculum material (£95).
What a year 2020 has turned out to be for all of us. I realise that you have had probably the strangest year of your teaching career and have had to adapt and change faster than at any other time to whole new ways of working. We are now starting to head more positively towards a restful summer with restrictions easing and the possibility of at least a trip to the countryside or seaside on the horizon. We are all desperate to return to normality, keen to go on holiday, but as I type, a new normal is emerging. A hug and handshake free, slightly distanced, slightly fearful way of being back ‘out there’ shopping, going to the pub, having a haircut, visiting the gym and cafes. Heads and Senior Leaders, without all the answers, are planning for an uncertain return for all year groups in September, feeling the immense responsibility for the lives of the whole school community and the families of staff and pupils. With pages of DfE guidance to wade through, the detail is still a little fuzzy, but we now know that as the resilient heroes of the pandemic, schools will make it work, somehow!
As I said in the first newsletter, there are free sample resources to download and schools are able to purchase for their year 4-6 classes, sessions to support their return post-lockdown. The magical mindfulness meditation FREE sample recording is now available to use (where you downloaded the initial files).
I have been delighted to read in various Facebook groups that the vast majority of pupils who have returned in year 6 have skipped back into school and settled in well to the new routines, but I am equally sadly aware that many have not. Please make wellbeing your focus in the fist few weeks of term whether you use this resource or not... Staff and pupils will have yet another massive adjustment to make to routines, procedures and lesson structures. The worry of a second wave, that there is no cure and no vaccine is still making for a fearful backdrop.
Evaluations of Flourishing Lives Restore and Recover Wellbeing Curriculum
Thank you to those who have filled in evaluations of the free sample lesson. I am so pleased to share that the comments from the year 6 teachers who purchased the full resource have, without exception, been extremely positive. “Fabulous resource” and “Brilliant, well-pitched and engaging creating lots of fascinating discussions,” are my favourite two reviews. Please complete the evaluation…it really does only take two minutes!
Why use Flourishing Lives?
With all the uncertainty, fear for the virus and financial challenges for parents, changes to routine, loss of ‘rites of passage’ and challenges, children and young people really need the opportunity to discuss their experiences. Some will have loved the family walks, the new routine, the lack of school (dare I say it) and will have ridden the lock-down storm really well. Others may feel very thrown by everything…more anxious, depressed, tearful and unable to cope with academic. These ‘Flourishing Lives’ lessons provide the opportunity to help pupils, wherever they are at emotionally, to access learning, process their emotions, learn strategies such as mindfulness and meditation to help them to build their resilience.
A summary of lesson content.
Bonding your class may prove challenging if time is not provided to re-group as a team. The sessions in the £95 ‘Flourishing Lives’ resource prioritise friendship, building trust and making sincere promises to look out and support each other during the year. There are also opportunities to talk about values, including the requirement for ‘British Values’ and to build in talk about equality and diversity. Important always, but timely with the Black Lives Matters protests. Education, ultimately, is the most powerful tool to ensure that we have a more just and equal society.
Our mental health UK charities, with a cash injection by the government, have produced helpful sheets and resources for teacher looking to deepen their understanding of wellbeing and mental health issues. There are some crucial links at the bottom of the newsletter.
The importance of a restful summer looking after your wellbeing
Please do find some downtime for yourself this summer. We need our teaching staff and support staff to be ‘on top of their game’ physically and emotionally this September. If a second peak does rear its ugly head, we need to be ready to face the challenges that this will inevitably bring. Our mental health is important. Schools need to provide support for their whole community, including staff. I wish you all a really pleasant summer, recharging your batteries.
Please do send us an evaluation of either the full half term resource or the free sample first session. We want to make this resource as good as it can possibly be and for this we need your input.
To order your £95 resource simply email the Flourishing Lives team at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tel: 07900908704
To watch the video about Flourishing Lives: www.flourishingschools.co.uk/pshe-flourishing-lives
Some free mental health resources for schools to complement the KS2 PSHE ‘Flourishing Lives’ curriculum sessions:
Links to additional wellbeing related resources (to send home with pupils):
The Anna Freud centre has created primary and secondary pupil self-care packs to offer children and young people some fun self-care activities over the summer holidays, signposting to additional support, if needed.
DfE resource list
Helpful organisations (Fast access list):
Measuring Wellbeing in Schools – article by Adrian Bethune:
www.chameleonpde.com have produced an analysis of the new safeguarding guidance, Keeping Children Safe in Education and its impact on PSHE provision.
Mental health support available for children and young people in England
NB: NHS mental health services are still operating, and schools should still refer to their local NHS children and young people’s mental health service.
MindEd - a free educational resource for staff from Health Education England on children and young people's mental health.
A Coronavirus Staff Resilience Hub with materials on peer support, for managers and senior leaders, on stress and fear and trauma and bereavement.
Pre-existing, content includes death and loss (for parents and carers);
loss and grief (for professionals including teachers); and
Trauma and coping (for parents and carers)
Good Thinking digital mental wellbeing resource for London, which breaks down advice for children and young people by specific groups
Rise Above for Schools - a free website for teachers which hosts a range of mental health lesson plans suitable for Year 6, KS3 & KS4. Content is written by teachers and is accredited by the PSHE Association.
Place 2 Be supporting children’s mental health.
Local NHS mental health crisis support lines (for all ages) can be found via a simple age and postcode search here.
Schools may also wish to signpost the following resources to parents and carers:
DfE online educational resources for home education with a section on mental wellbeing.
PHE’s guidance on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing.
BBC Education online learning content, also for reception to Year 10 pupils, to support home learning, with weekly wellbeing tips provided via their social media pages.
The Think Ninja app has been made freely available to young people (aged 10-18 year olds) across the UK and updated with specific mental health and wellbeing content related to the pandemic.
Every Mind Matters includes an online tool to encourage people to look after their mental health and wellbeing. It also includes a section for parents and carers.
Children and young people who are caring for someone with a mental illness can self-refer to the NHS Volunteer Responders programme using this link (for issues around shopping for food or picking up prescriptions etc.)
Children and young people can access free confidential support anytime from voluntary and community sector organisations by texting SHOUT to 85258, calling Childline on 0800 1111 or the Mix on 0808 808 4994.
Children and young people can also find online information on COVID-19 and mental health on the Young Minds website.
For support with an eating disorder, children and young people can ring Beat’s Youthline on 0808 801 0711.
Local mental health crisis support lines (for all ages) can be found via a simple age and postcode search here.
Home learning packs on puberty (PSHE Association members) and the environment (Energy Saving Trust):
A guide for PSHE home learning for parents – PSHE Association
Flourishing Schools Training and Consultancy (online and in-school)
We hope you have found these links helpful. We look forward to supporting your school’s wellbeing aims. In addition to the Flourishing Lives resource, Flourishing Schools offers consultancy and training on all elements of Behaviour for Learning, PSHE and wellbeing for pupils and staff. To secure a bespoke booking, simply contact the team. We look forward to working with you. Have a great summer!
Jayne Wright and the Flourishing Lives Team