Transcript from the video...
What do we mean by mental wellbeing?
So, if we are going to feel mentally well, we really need to feel totally well, and this is made up of:
- Emotional wellness – to be happy and motivated despite the stresses and strains of everyday life
- Social wellness – building and maintaining healthy relationships and being respectful of the environment
- Physical wellness – physically fit, healthy, and strong with a zest for life!
In this blog, we will explore Social Wellbeing in more depth and show you some great ideas you can use in your classroom straight away!
In this chapter we look at social wellness and how we can help your pupils build and maintain healthy relationships with friends and be respectful of the environment we all share.
We will explore emotional wellness including:
- Healthy relationships
- Healthy friendships
- Healthy environment
Healthy relationships and friendships
The restrictions during the pandemic have limited the opportunity to socialise with friends for an extended period and may naturally create feelings of nervousness and apprehension now children are starting to rebuild those relationships again. Now that our children are back within the school environment there are a whole host of ways in which we can facilitate and encourage that re-connection.
This is a brilliant and fun way to re-establish trust, connection and communication between children and their classmates - it also encourages a little healthy competition between friends!
In small groups (of say three or four) or in pairs, task your children with coming up with three individual counterbalance positions – where each child supports the other to balance.
For example, each child could stand on one leg with an arm raised above their heads and reach out with the other arm to hold hands with their partners
Or, two children could stand facing each other with their feet touching. They hold hands and lean backwards – using each other to stop themselves from falling backwards.
Depending on the year group you are teaching, you could encourage lots of creativity with the positions.
Use a short poem about friendship, and create a group discussion to uncover the meaning behind the words.
Split your class into small groups and ask them to create a short performance to express what the poem means to them, this could be a rap, a dance or a theatre style performance – anything goes!
This approach helps individuals to discuss and explore what friendship means to them.
Thankfulness Paper Chain
A great way to support children to strengthen their connections with others and help them to identify, and concentrate on, everything they’re thankful for is by using the thankfulness paper chain. This group activity can be integrated into an art or PSHE lesson, and sees children create a colourful paper chain that can be displayed in the classroom as a reminder of all the positive things that your children collectively have in their lives.
Here how it works:
1. Ask your children to cut out strips of paper.
2. Think of something they are thankful for
3. Write, draw or stick pictures on their strip of paper to show this
4. Ask the children to share with their classmates
5. Loop the strips of paper together and hang in a prominent place in the classroom
You could repeat this exercise throughout the school term to focus on other areas such as what the children are most proud of - try ideas like:
- What makes them happiest
- Where is their favourite place to be
- Who are they most grateful for
- Hang your paper chains around your classroom, school corridor or hall.
When children feel proud of their learning space and environment it will improve their mood, behaviour and even reduce stress. Declutter your classroom where possible and give children the responsibility for their own space and communal space.
Here’s a couple of free activities to try with your children.
What you may need: Paper | Coloured Pens | Initiative
Create your own recycling worksheet (using some or all of the recycling types on our illustration below). Set your children off on a hunt around their classroom and school grounds, looking for anything they can find that could be recycled.
They should write each item next to the correct recycling bin on their worksheet. As a group, they can discuss their findings and agree on ways to keep their environment clean, tidy, and sustainable.
A great way to get over memorable messages to children is through the use of videos the children can follow. You can find lots of these on the internet such as the BBC's Supermovers and GoNoodle amongst others. They are really simple to do in the classroom and are a powerful way to energise your class. Just make sure you have enough space in the classroom, although many should be able to be done at the desk and around chairs, and just follow the video. A burst of activity like this will get the endorphins going and you'll find the children are far more focused than they were before.
A final thought from Imogen...
After reading this report, I hope you are thinking “I can do this!”
You may feel less worried about how to tackle the health and mental wellbeing of your children in a world where we are all having to adapt after Covid-19.
If you’re still reading, I know you’ll pull out all the stops to create a brighter, happier, healthier classroom to help your children overcome anxiety, manage their mood and negative feelings and achieve their amazing potential.
YOUR mental health is just as important, so make sure you take some time to think about YOU! And join your children on their healthy journey by getting stuck into some of the activities in the classroom yourself too!
This document is just one chapter which covers social wellness – you’ll find two more chapters including emotional wellness and physical wellness.
Drop me an email if you’d like these other chapters sent over.
Let me know if this report was useful, or if there are any other activities of your own that you would like me to share with my network of like-minded teachers – it’s always great to inspire each other!
You can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org.