Mental health is as important to a child's safety and wellbeing as their physical health. It can impact on all aspects of their life, including their educational attainment, relationships and physical wellbeing. Mental health can also change over time, to varying degrees of seriousness, and for different reasons.
Everyone, has mental health just as we all have physical health and emotional health, mental health is just one of the types of health that make up who we are as an individual. When we talk about mental health, we're talking about our mental well-being: our emotions, our thoughts and feelings, our ability to solve problems and overcome difficulties, our social connections, and our understanding of the world around us..
One critical aspect of a child having good mental health and wellbeing is by them knowing that they are loved – that they are loved for the unique and precious individuals they are. Therefore we need to help children understand their feelings and emotions, by using emotional language and by giving them an emotional vocabulary to help them to understand their own and others feelings.
The school has accessed the Department for Education funding which has been used to train a Senior Mental Health Lead. The headteacher is the senior mental health lead and is responsible for creating a whole-school approach to supporting mental health and wellbeing as well as creating an open culture in which staff, children and parents alike can discuss their mental health and wellbeing.
Our school is also part of the BERT award which strives to promote, protect and improve children and young peoples mental health and well being.
Here are some of the practical strategies we use to support children’s emotional wellbeing:
We also have a strong Personal, Social, Health Education programme. The table below shows some of the topics that we explore with the children.
The food a child eats in their early years can influence their dietary habits later in life, so it’s important to instil good habits and a healthy relationship with food from an early age. Eating a well-balanced diet can improve mood, provide more energy and help you think more clearly. The food groups that make up this balanced diet are protein foods like fish, meat and eggs, starchy foods supplying carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables and milk and dairy foods. At school the children have access to fresh fruit each day and milk in nursery. Every child is entitled to a free healthy meal when they start primary school.
Physical activity can have an immediate and long-term impact on cognitive skills, attitudes, behaviour and concentration - all of which are important factors in academic achievement. We have an active PE curriculum and are Gold award winners for our work with Travel Smart.
Good personal hygiene habits help children present an attractive appearance to the world, which in turn influences how they are perceived and treated by others. Good hygiene habits are encouraged daily at school and children learn about what they can do at home to ensure their hygiene habits are good.
A regular teeth-cleaning routine is essential for good dental health. Children should brush at least twice daily for about 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Good oral and dental hygiene can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. Children should visit a dentist as soon as their first teeth appear. Children are able to meet health professionals as part of our curriculum offer so they learn about people who help us in our community.
Sleep is as important to our health as eating, drinking and breathing. It allows our bodies to repair themselves and our brains to consolidate our memories and process information. Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety. Our school Pastoral Team can offer advice and support in this area should you need it.