At St. Mary's we are dedicated in supporting the positive mental health and wellness of both our children and staff.
Supporting Pupil Wellbeing:
At St. Mary's we use the Making Me support packages with the children in school.
Making Me are a local charity, working with schools in the Bedfordshire area, focusing on the prevention and early intervention of children and young people's mental ill health. Making Me offer workshops to pupils around emotional well-being and resilience and equip teachers with tools to promote emotional literacy and wellness.
The Making Me Strategies, which we also adopt, are focused on two main objectives:
That in order to feel emotionally secure, and thereby engage in academic learning, children need to feel 'seen, heard and held'
In a world where mental health difficulties are becoming increasing prevalent and affecting children of ever younger ages, teaching children how to stay mentally and emotionally well, equips them with life-long skills that will help to safeguard them from mental health difficulties in the future
Making Me’s Emotional Literacy Programme for children develops children's emotional literacy, teaches resilience skills and encourages children to use their words rather than their behaviour to communicate how they feel.
Their programme includes the following aspects:
Feelings Flowers act as a gauge by which staff can assess the emotional well-being of each child. Each day, children will place their caterpillar, which they make at the beginning of each year, on the feeling they have at the time. The Feelings Flowers in each classroom are appropriate to the ages of the children, with older children offered a greater variety of feelings. If children choose a 'negative' feeling, staff will then talk to the child about why they made this choice. Whatever their emotion, children will know they have been ‘seen’ and ‘heard’, and where needed, ‘held’.
Caterpillar Club involves a weekly story in which any one of 18 feelings are discussed and explored through a simple story about a caterpillar called Casey. The story includes how each feeling is experienced, how best they can be managed and how to practice being calm. Caterpillar Club is a tool that can be used throughout school to help children manage difficult feelings and behaviours. In our school, each class has its own Casey Caterpillar which can be held by children when they want to feel calm. Understanding feelings also then helps children to identify how they feel each morning when they are using the Feelings Flowers.
Shield of Resilience:
Making Me also offer Shield of Resilience workshops. These are one-off workshops delivered by Making Me staff to pupils in Key Stage 2 (Years 3 and 4). Each child builds up a shield outlining who they are and what they can say or do to help build their resilience. This workshop is designed to be loud and fun so that children see resilience as a positive and supportive aspect for now and in the future. Once they have their shield, children are then encouraged to use it whenever they need, to support their resilience.
Time to Talk:
We also support pupils with Time to Talk sessions. These weekly sessions are held by Mrs. Burraway during a lunchtime. Here she invites children to come and talk about anything they like! Sometimes children are also referred to time to talk by Class Teachers. Mrs. Burraway will support any children, as necessary, liaising with parents and teachers to provide additional support, if relevant.
Supporting Staff Wellbeing:
At St. Mary's, the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher have an open door policy to any staff who would like to discuss any matter. We also explore staff wellbeing through our annual staff survey, and action any areas that come up for development.
We provide resources to support staff wellbeing such as those produced by Action for Happiness.