The mental and physical wellbeing of all children, their families and staff is of the upmost importance to us at Rosedale. Since March 2020, everyone has faced more challenges than ever that could potentially have a negative impact on wellbeing.
When the children returned after lockdown in 2021 we knew how scary and challenging this would seem for many children, especially returning after a second period of extended time at home. Therefore, teachers set to work on developing a recovery curriculum that would allow children to adjust back to life in school, meet academic and emotional needs and allow us all to reconnect.
- When the children returned after lockdown we had a big PSHE focus. In particular, reminding the children of the work we did on the Colour Monster at the beginning of the school year. We encouraged children to identify and talk to an adult when they felt an emotion outside of the green zone and to use tools such as finger breathing or taking some quiet time to feel calm.
- We made sure we did regular emotional check-ins with the children to ensure we could address an anxiety or other concerns swiftly.
- we continued with the topic areas we had set out in our long term plans however we changed the way we structured certain lessons and activities so they were more accessible to the children. For example, in our learning journey lessons, we focused on setting up a carousel of activities that the children work through during the week. Each has a specific subject focus and is linked to the current topic. Following lockdown we made these carousels much more practical. It allowed the children to experiment more independently and discuss new ideas with their peers. The focus being more on the 'doing/making' rather than recording.
- When the children returned to school we had a big emphasis on emotional check-ins with the children. We planned our curriculum for that week to be continuous provision styled all day to allow teachers and TAs the time to check in with every child - we talked to them about what they had been up to, how they were feeling to be back at school etc.
- Each class also had allocated an afternoon every week to outdoor learning. The children enjoyed various activities such as making bird feeders, using natural resources to make their own art (with inspiration from Andy Goldsworthy), enjoyed completing some shadow drawings of each other, we made mud porridge for the 3 bears. They really enjoyed litter picking the area to make it tidy for us and the animals - this demonstrated such amazing team-work skills.
- In the first few weeks we allocated more time to "choosing time" - this allowed children to play imaginatively with their peers and develop their social skills. Children really thrived from this special time with their friends.
- For Easter the children were sent a mission by 'The Easter Bunny'. They were split into teams and they had to go on a number hunt around the garden. They had to find their teams numbers and then work together to peg them on a number line in the correct order 0-20! Once they had found all of the numbers, each team was given a letter! Then we had to work as a whole class to think what the word was...it was CHAIR! When we got back in to class The Easter Bunny had left us all an Easter egg on our chair! How amazing!
- We also finished the term with an 'Easter Celebration Day' - the children came to school in their party clothes and we had fun playing party games such as 'pin the tail on the bunny', 'musical bunnies' and made party hats! And we had fun dancing to our favourite songs! And then we finished the day with a party plate of food - yummy!
- Following the Easter break there was a gradual return to more formal learning in order to prepare the children for transition to Year 2 but with a large focus still on continuous provision on regular emotional check ins.
If you are concerned about your child's mental wellbeing there are many places you can go to get help. In the first instance you could talk to your GP, your child's Health Visitor, teacher/nursery worker. If your child needs further support you can contact the children's services team at your local council.
NHS Children and Young Peoples Services - https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/social-care-and-support-guide/caring-for-children-and-young-people/children-and-young-peoples-services/
Young Minds – emergency contact for urgent help as well as advice for parents supporting young people. https://youngminds.org.uk/
MindEd – a free educational resource from Health Education England on children and young people’s mental health. https://www.minded.org.uk/
Royal Collage of Psychiatrists – useful mental health information leaflets tailored for young people and parents supporting their child. https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/mental-health
We are always here to help and support our families. If you have any concerns about the mental wellbeing of your child please don’t hesitate to get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01902 368910.