We are proud to hold A Healthy Schools Award and A Mental Health Champions Award from GHLL. It is very important that we prepare children for a successful future, which means that we focus on achievement in all areas, not just academic fields.
At Andoversford, we know that life will not always be picture-perfect and we understand the additional pressures that modern society brings. To help navigate the ups and downs, we all need to be able to overcome disappointment, cope in times of challenge as well as rejoice in more positive times! In school, we teach pupils the skills they will need to prioritise their own mental health, how to manage the challenges life may throw at us and how to use the 5 Ways to Wellbeing.
Independence, resilience and self-regulation are vital skills which we aim to develop in all pupils. From the very start of school, we encourage pupils to recognise and manage their own feelings through our PSHCE curriculum and supportive ethos. Our behaviour policy includes restorative approaches rather than arbitrary sanctions so that children learn consequences and how to resolve conflicts. We also use the 'Wheel of Choice' approach, which enables pupils to select an activity to self soothe, work towards a mutual agreement or rectify a situation. We recognise that if a pupil is feeling overwhelmed or upset, they may need to take a few moments to help manage that emotion before rejoining a lesson.
During the day, we ensure that we build in activity breaks at regular intervals to help concentration and give our pupils the opportunity to burn off some energy. In the morning, we have a TEAM (Ten Extra Active Minutes) session as well as a free choice playtime. Within our curriculum we make space for high-quality PSHCE including Forest School. We also get outside and engage with nature. Throughout the year, we also engage with whole school interventions through our assemblies, additional workshops with visitors and organise special focus days, like our ASPIRE Day dedicated to Mindfulness.
Support for Parents and Carers
It is very common for children to need support to manage their emotions at some stage in their life, but it can sometimes be confusing to know the best way to find help and support for them. Young Minds, a mental health charity for children has some excellent resources you can use. Parents can use the Helpfinder Tool which is organised by the types of behaviours that your child is showing. You can also browse the parent resources section, which includes a parents lounge and a A to Z Support Guide. You can access lots of practical resources for use at home as well as information about which services to turn to for further advice. Young Minds have also created dedicated support to help parents and carers through the Coronavirus Pandemic, which includes support to tackle many of the ways that children have been affected.
Anxiety is one of the most common topics which has surfaced over recent years. You can find a parent resource with ideas and strategies below.
Resilience is the key to success! There are lots of ways that we build resilience for our children, starting with some very small steps. Take a look at this video for an easy to follow explanation of how to build your child’s self-belief and help them take credit and responsibility for their actions!