Alvaston Junior Academy

Alvaston Junior Academy

Mental Health and Mindfulness

Mental health and wellbeing: Remote Learning

At Alvaston Junior Academy, we are committed to supporting the health and wellbeing of our pupils and staff to ensure that the school is a community where everyone feels able to thrive. Positive mental wellbeing is essential if children and young people are to flourish and lead fulfilling lives.

At our school, we know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play. 

As part of one of our strategies to promote positive mental health and wellbeing and to engage our children in thinking and talking about their emotions, we have a daily ‘wellbeing journal’. The daily activities are changed every term and reflect the needs of the children at our school: from teacher and pupil voice.

During lockdown we encourage all children to have a ‘screen free’ afternoon and engage in wellbeing activities. Giving them a chance to be creative and express themselves.

We endeavour to ensure that children are able to manage times of change and stress. During this time when lessons have moved online, we encourage our pupils, and staff, to take 10 minutes to pause and reflect on their thoughts and feelings. Some individuals ground themselves by thinking about their feet on the floor, while others concentrate on their breathing; a technique known as mindfulness.

In its simplest terms, mindfulness helps train your attention to be more aware of what is happening in the present moment, instead of worrying about what has already happened or might happen in the future. 

Breath Meditation

A calming breath meditation designed to introduce children to mindfulness. Children imagine a sail boat rising and falling over waves as they inhale and exhale. They use mental imagery to see their breath as colour as they observe the sensation of it passing through the nostrils.

 https://youtu.be/CvF9AEe-ozc

We also promote and share the monthly Action for Happiness calendars. The monthly calendars are packed with actions you can take to help create a happier and kinder world.

Action for Happiness - Calendar

https://www.actionforhappiness.org/calendars

Supporting your child during the coronavirus outbreak

Government guidance on supporting children and young people's mental health during the coronavirus

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-parents-and-carers-on-supporting-children-and-young-peoples-mental-health-and-wellbeing-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

 'Many ways to share a hug' - Social Story

https://www.childhood.org.au/app/uploads/2020/04/hug_HR.pdf

 Ten tips for talking to your child

https://youngminds.org.uk/blog/talking-to-your-child-about-coronavirus/#ten-tips-from-our-parents-helpline

  A lovely, printable 14 day mindfulness activity challenge

https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Coronavirus-home-challenge.pdf

  A coronavirus story

https://www.elsa-support.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Coronavirus-story-for-children-1.pdf

 Apps for Wellbeing and Mental Health

 Stop, Breathe and Think App

https://www.stopbreathethink.com

Check in with how you're feeling and try short activities tuned to your emotions

 Smiling Mind App

https://www.smilingmind.com.au

A great app with age specific mindfulness resources, including a new resource, 'Thrive Inside'.

Thrive Inside is a special program to help you stay psychologically healthy while you're spending extended periods of time at home.

 Cosmic Kids Yoga and Mindfulness App  

https://www.cosmickids.com

This app often has a two week trial available

When the children are in school, they complete a daily 'Reflective Journal'. Click on the 'downloads' section to print off a copy at home- you may find this a really great way to end the day of home schooling.

Other refective journals for children that may be helpful at home.You can purchase these from a number of retailers:

The Happy Self Journal 

Happy Mindset Journal

Happy Confident Me

It may also be helpful to click on the Cosmi Yoga for Kids link to give you inspiration for 'time out' and reflective quiet time. A number of the teachers use these videos in school too. 

Cosmic Kids Yoga, Stories and Fun

Mrs Patmore is the Mental Health lead at Alvaston Juniors. If you would like to know about our curriculum and how we support Mental Health and Well Being, please contact her via email: KPatmore01@alvaston.theharmonytrust.org 

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