THERE were plenty of activities on offer for pupils at Sytchampton Endowed Primary School, near Droitwich, on Tuesday when a special Wellbeing Day took place.
Headteacher Amanda Richards, who joined the school last year just as the pandemic hit, has placed a clear focus and value on both the children’s and staff’s wellbeing.
Staff have been trained in mental health first aid, understanding adverse childhood experiences and trauma and in understanding autism.
Two children from each class have been elected as ‘wellbeing champions’, tasked with spreading kindness, happiness and normalising talking about feelings when they ‘are not themselves’.
In the run up to the day, children made bee bracelets with ‘Bee Kind’ on to raise funds and the wellbeing champions canvassed fellow pupils about what they wanted to do.
On the day itself – to celebrate World Wellbeing Week – Charlotte from Relax Kids undertook yoga, relaxation and mindfulness sessions with each class and other activities included biscuit decorating, crafts, gardening, making pizza, watching a film with popcorn, jewellery making, colouring and more.
Natalie Hothi, who has been trained as a youth mental health first aider, led the Wellbeing Day.
She said: “The children all had a fantastic day, getting to choose their own activities and try out some new ones.
“We have had some fantastic feedback from parents via Facebook.”
Other general activities have seen ‘Wellbeing Wednesdays’ introduced where focus is placed on mental health, including creating emotions fans, growing plants, creating bug hotels, increasing hydration, mindfulness, meditation, relaxation, anxiety and worries and more.
In Brambles reception class an emotions registration encourages the children to choose how they are feeling that day and, along with the emotions wheel and fan, opens up conversations about feelings to normalise them. The class also watched frog spawn develop into tadpoles and frogs.
The importance of nature for children’s wellbeing is recognised and nurtured through forest school and gardening. Children take home seeds to plant and then bring them back when grown to put in the school garden.
The latest addition is therapy dog Tillie who is currently a puppy and about to go through her specialist training soon to support children with their emotional wellbeing and happiness.
Mrs Hothi added: “At Sytchampton the most important thing to us is that the children are happy, only when children are happy can they reach their learning potential.
“Each child is so important to us and adopting a child centred approach ensures this is always our primary focus. All of the staff at Sytchampton are so dedicated to the children and we all support each other as a big family.
“We also have dedicated wellbeing staff meetings every half term and the school governors have added wellbeing to their meeting agendas and have a focus for supporting staff wellbeing.
“And we try to offer support for our parents mental health and wellbeing by sharing useful articles on our school Facebook page, having an open door policy and always having a listening ear.
“In the future we would like to offer parents training in mental health first aid too.
“I never feel like I’m going to ‘work’ I love my job so much and I think the rest of the team share the view that we are very lucky and privileged to get to watch these wonderful little people grow.
“It’s amazing thinking we have in some way contributed to their happy experience of school and learning.”