Mental Health Awareness Week
The mental health of the entire Rupert House community - children, staff and parents - is of paramount importance and Mental Health Awareness Week is the perfect opportunity to keep this top of our agenda.
We have recently appointed a Designated Mental Health Lead, who oversees some amazing work with the children, while the two Staff Wellbeing Leads organise all sorts of fun and uplifting activities for the staff. Parents are encouraged to be open and honest with the school as to how they are feeling so that we can support them and their children appropriately, and during lockdown one of our Mental Health First Aiders who also has an adult counselling qualification was available to support any of our parents who were struggling. The focus of this year's week is anxiety, which is likely to affect us all at some point, and so in my assembly on Monday I talked about all sorts of strategies I have found helpful in the past and which the children might like to use at some point.
Rupert House School will be incorporating the topic of mental health into the curriculum this week, with a variety of age-appropriate activities lead by the school’s designated mental health lead, Valerie Sheriff. For example, the EYFS children have been reading story books including Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival and Reception popped their worry bubbles. Year 1 & 2 pupils have been ‘filling each other’s cups’ by cutting out little notes and pictures and giving them to their friends to brighten their day. Year 1 then created a whole class cup while Year 3 have created Mental Health Awareness leaflets after learning about what they can do to look after their own mental health.
Year 6 researched and taught each other strategies for dealing with anxiety during their wellbeing sessions this week. Techniques included, individual nasal breathing, dancing, practising gratitude, pressure and release as well as recording thoughts and feelings. One pair invented a breathing technique, ‘rollercoaster breathing’ that involved drawing a squiggly line and breathing in on the ‘ups’ and down on the ‘downs.’ Charlotte taught us about her crystals and how she uses them for meditation.
Mrs Sheriff even put French pains au chocolat in the staffroom with self-care tips on Tuesday morning for her colleagues to enjoy.
This week is also Walk to School Week which ties in nicely with Mental Health Awareness. Walking to school, this and every other week of the year, is actively encouraged by the school as exercise and fresh air are fantastic for boosting children’s mood and energy levels.
Mrs Sheriff wrote an article for the Independent Schools Council on promoting, resilience, courage and respect in children and how we promote mental health and wellbeing amongst pupils and staff at Rupert House - read it here: ‘Promoting resilience, courage and respect’ - ISC