Students reflect on the importance of a healthy mind for Children’s Mental Health Week

Inside Out Day, mindfulness yoga and a thought-provoking book to read: Just three wellbeing activities that children at Oriel Academy experienced last week.

These opportunities were not just for fun, though, but to boost mental health too. Better yet, they were all done in support of Children’s Mental Health Week!

Each term, students at Oriel Academy learn about the importance of a healthy mind and body during dedicated termly wellbeing days. This term, the ‘my mind’ wellbeing topic was explored last Friday (5th February) during Children’s Mental Health Week (1st – 7th February).

Mental health concerns have dominated the media since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic. According to the NHS, one in six children are now reported to be impacted by mental health difficulties. Nurturing our internal feelings is more important now than ever.

Chloe Butcher, Year 4 teacher and PSHE Lead, explained: “Our termly wellbeing days at Oriel Academy are very important as they give us an opportunity to really focus on the foundations of what enables us all to be happy and healthy individuals.

“This term’s wellbeing day on ‘my mind’ tied in especially well with Children’s Mental Health Week and so we linked the two. We had a real focus on encouraging the children to talk about how they feel inside and recognise that we need to consider how other people feel inside too.”

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, ‘Inside Out Day’ took place on Wednesday 3rd February. This involved wearing clothes inside out to demonstrate that how someone looks on the outside isn’t always how they’re feeling on the inside.

Students and staff both supported the cause and wore their clothes inside out! Pictures were shared on Google Classroom for all to see while online learning continues.

Inside Out Day!

Reception staff support Inside Out Day.

To encourage students to explore mental health further, Year 4 teacher Chloe Butcher shared a video of her reading ‘My Monster and Me’ for students to listen to.

The book, written by TV chef and author Nadiya Hussain, follows the journey of a boy suffering from anxiety, reminding us all that it is ok to talk and nobody should suffer in silence.

Chloe explained: “Although it’s a fairly simply story, it helped to convey the importance of ‘talking’ to all the children.

“It was also a great starting point for conversations with the older children too.”

Mrs Butcher reading ‘My Monster and Me’.

In Year 3, further mindfulness activities including students completing a daily feelings tracker in an attempt to recognise and understand their emotions.

In Year 4, students learnt about the importance of keeping a healthy body as well as a healthy mind, and practiced this through a mindfulness yoga activity.

“Teaching the children about the importance of having a healthy mind and body is something we strive to do every day, but our wellbeing days provide the chance to really delve deep and explore this through a variety of ways”, Chloe commented.

Chloe said: “Being kind, always, was another key message we tried to deliver throughout this wellbeing day. I feel proud to walk around Oriel Academy and see and hear all of the kind and helpful things our children and staff do.”

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