PUPILS at St Ives School in Haslemere celebrated Children’s Mental Health Week with initiatives on and off curriculum around this year’s theme of ‘Growing Together’.
The week began with a whole school assembly, led by St Ives’ newly-appointed wellbeing champion Cheryl Cooper. Cheryl encouraged the children to think about how they grow, both physically and emotionally, and how much of the way they grow emotionally is down to the people who surround them and support them.
The children were asked to draw a support balloon and fill it with the names of everyone who supports them and add to it throughout the week. The children were also encouraged to see every knock back or failure as a learning opportunity, on which to build and improve until they eventually succeed.
These disciplines are already very familiar to the children at St Ives – who have been working under the building learning power model for several years – in which resilience, relationships, reflectiveness and resourcefulness are taught.
St Ives has a strong pastoral provision, which has only increased in the past couple of years as children have had to cope with the challenges of Covid, with remote learning and school closures.
St Ives is a small school, where kindness is the most revered characteristic.
Since Cheryl’s appointment as wellbeing champion, she has introduced a wellbeing club which runs every week, as well as wellbeing drop-ins and one-to-one sessions for any children that need them.
In addition to their friendship bench and worry box, she has introduced a ‘gratitude’ box where children can post messages of gratitude and appreciation, which are read out in assembly on Fridays.
There is also a thought for the week placed on tables in the dining room for the children to consider. One week’s message was ‘Don’t wait for the opportunity, create it!’
Children’s Mental Health Week ended with a dress to express day, where the children could wear what they wanted to express their personalities.
There was a huge array of different colours and themes on display – Cheryl even came to school dressed as a unicorn.
St Ives School headteacher Kay Goldsworthy said: “Children’s Mental Health Week is a fantastic initiative and one we always support.
“However, we know looking after our children’s mental health is our most important job and that’s why we nurture it all year round, not just during mental health week.
“One of our mottos is ‘Happy children are the best learners’ and that is evident in our academic results, but most importantly, in the way we turn out kind, caring, bright and community-spirited individuals.”