Young children take care of mental healthPosted: 21st February 2019
Young children are being encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings as their school works to look after their mental health.
Magna Carta Primary Academy has introduced a wealth of initiatives to ensure its young people always know where to turn when they need support.
The school recently supported the Beat the Blues and Wear Yellow day by Mid and North Essex Mind charity to raise funds for one-to-one emotional wellbeing support in the area.
As a school, Magna Carta used the event to talk to pupils about mental health, about their feelings and how talking can help.
Headteacher Marios Solomonides said: “This work is important as mental health needs the same attention as physical health and yet there is a stigma attached to it. If you start with educating the youngest people in the community, they will grow up without that stigma. It’s also our way of showing parents we’re aware everyone has mental health, so we do not shy away from talking about it.
“It is also important to teach children there could be someone else feeling sad or upset and how they can support them by letting them know they are there for them.”
Pupils were encouraged to identify what they were feeling and to understand the difference between positive and negative thoughts.
Bubble Time has also been introduced at the school, where children can put a note or their photo on the classroom wall to signal they need to talk to someone.
A Bubble Room will give children space to reflect and take time out to deal with their emotions.
Mr Solomonides said: “The Bubble Room will be full of sensory equipment, things that light up and items to touch and will give pupils somewhere to calm down. During some recent training, we were told once a person hits crisis point, it takes up to 90 minutes to be ready to face the world again. That’s a long time and yet sometimes we expect children to come back from a crisis far quicker; we expect them to come back within minutes. Sometimes, they could look alright, but they need time to get their emotions to calm down.
“It’s about saying we acknowledge everyone has mental health needs and there needs to be space in the building as much as in the curriculum to fulfil those needs. It’s not just about academic learning, it’s about wellbeing. Nobody can learn if they’re not in the right place mentally to do so.
“These initiatives give our adults an opportunity to find out how pupils are feeling. It has been a huge hit with getting children to talk about what they feel.”