At Charlton Manor Primary School, we ensure that children understand that we all have mental health and need to look after it just as well as our physical health. We teach our pupils to recognise that we all respond in differing ways to our experiences with individual emotions, feelings, thoughts and behaviours.
It’s important too that children understand how there can be changes in their bodies which are connected to their feelings and thoughts – for example, just as in PE, when our heart beats very quickly after we have been running, the same is true when we are excited, nervous or scared. By helping children with these concepts and getting them to think about how feelings and thoughts are linked to behaviour, we can then explain more clearly how these elements affect our mental health and well-being.
Calmly and confidently opening up conversations in our classrooms, dining rooms and playgrounds can encourage children to discuss, to learn and understand that mental health is something we all have and develop the skills to look after it and maintain good health. Children learn that at times we may feel sad or may be struggling and at other times we overcome those feelings using strategies to ensure we can feel confident and calm. Most crucially, we can have open conversations about how to ask for help when we need support.
At Charlton Manor, we firmly believe that happy and emotionally secure children learn better. They are directly affected by their environment and who they come in to contact with on a daily basis. With this in mind, we believe in supporting the ‘whole’ child and our mental health offer includes children, their families, and our staff. All our staff have regular training linked to safeguarding, supporting children’s mental health, and supporting their own mental health. There are clear systems and processes in place for identifying possible mental health concerns, including routes to escalate and clear support systems within our school structure.
Mental Health at this difficult time
All staff will be aware that mental health problems can be one indicator that a child has potentially suffered abuse, neglect or exploitation. They are well placed to observe the children and their behaviours. All staff will ensure they are aware of their responsibilities for safeguarding and child protection in being alert to the signs of abuse and of their responsibility to report and record any concerns.
Negative experiences and distressing life events, such as the current national crisis with the Covid-19 virus, has the potential to negatively affect the mental health of pupils and their parents. Staff will be aware of this in setting expectations of pupils’ work where they are at home. Where we are providing for children of critical workers and vulnerable children on site, we will ensure appropriate support is in place for them and their families.
Our staff will be aware of the mental health of children and their parents and carers and will contact the DSL or Deputy DSL if they have any concerns.
There are many excellent charities who are offering advice for parents and carers with regards to supporting not only their child's mental health, but also their own. Please see some links to websites that have a wide range of information that can support you and your child maintain good mental health.
We recognise and value the role P.E has in supporting physical and mental well-being. Miss Coller, our specialist PE Teacher, has continued to provide the children with 2 lessons of P.E per week, throughout the time where Covid-19 has disrupted learning for so many.
Through high quality PE, children are not only provided with opportunities to challenge themselves physically, but they are also encouraged to take risks, develop resilience, empathise with one another as team players, build up confidence and practise social skills.
We believe these are all vital components for maintaining good mental health and self-esteem. We consistently encourage the children to consider and recognise the clear and proven benefits of regular exercise on their physical and sense of mental well-being.
Are you feeling down or struggling with your mental health and well-being? Call us on: 0208 215 2243 for help and Advice. Visit their Website here.