Promoting wellbeing and good mental health in children
At The Discovery School, we believe that it is vital that all children know that mental wellbeing is a normal part of daily life, in the same way as physical health.
Wellbeing and good mental health in young people:
We are committed to teaching children about promoting wellbeing and having open conversations about mental health. The NHS encourages the promotion of wellbeing through 5 steps:
We also teach the children about the importance of good sleep. As a guide:
- children aged 3 to 5 need 10 to 13 hours
- children aged 6 to 12 need 9 to 12 hours
Furthermore, we emphasise the importance of prioritising sleep, social interaction and physical activity, which are vital for wellbeing over screen time. For example, by agreeing a weekly online limit with their parents or switching off their phone 2 hours before bed.
Our curriculum also addresses:
- Teaching self-care techniques.
- The difference between boredom and isolation/loneliness and how to combat loneliness.
- How children can help themselves and where they can go for help if they feel that their wellbeing is suffering.
Supporting wellbeing at The Discovery School
We describe this support in ‘waves’ and these are applied to the children appropriate to their level of need:
Who accesses this wave of support
Examples of support at this wave
The majority of children’s social emotional and mental health needs can be met with these approaches
Positive, open and proactive whole school ethos that promotes the importance of SEMH and wellbeing.
PHSE curriculum that actively addresses all areas of social, emotional and mental health.
Highly trained school staff who can identify indicators of underlying difficulties quickly.
Wellbeing weeks including speakers and visitors that promote wellbeing.
School-wide Growth Mindset approaches.
A smaller group of children will need additional targeted support with their social, emotional mental health and wellbeing
Targeted interventions (special programmes run outside of the class either in small groups or 1:1)
Specific, additional resources (for example social stories, calming tools)
Access to assessment for the identification of significant needs
School nurse drop ins with parents
Referrals to the SEMH team for further advice and support
Specific transition plans for change in year groups and movement to new school
A smaller minority of pupils will have more significant needs and require highly targeted and individualised support. Children accessing support at this level are likely to be recognised on the Special Educational Needs (SEN) register.
Individualised work with the Mental Health and Wellbeing Manager.
Access via the Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator to outside agency support, including specialist teachers.
Referral to NHS services via the School Nursing Service.
Highly individualised approaches in and outside the classroom.
Referral to the children’s mental health services.
Multi-agency working, including referrals to Early Help.
What should you do if you believe your child has difficulties with social, emotional and mental health or that their wellbeing is suffering?
Please don’t hesitate to contact your child’s class teacher who would be very happy to discuss your concerns and work with you to establish how the school can support you and your child in the first instance. That support pathway may include in class support or accessing some of the specialist support we have in school via the SEMH team.
Every child at The Discovery School has access to a range of social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) and wellbeing support both inside the classroom and during unstructured times, like lunchtimes. We have designed our curriculum so that education about wellbeing and how children can keep themselves mentally healthy is of the upmost priority. Children receive weekly PHSE lessons that build awareness of wellbeing and promote strategies for good mental health. We are proud that we are at the forefront of this and have had a curriculum in place for a number of years, ahead of the government making this statutory from September 2021.
The majority of children and young people have good mental wellbeing most of the time. The starting point for our teaching in school is therefore teaching pupils the factors that contribute to and help us maintain wellbeing.
TTS have produced a lovely wellbeing workbook which parents can download here.