Juniors mark Children’s Mental Health Week with activities
The first week of February was Children’s Mental Health Week and Junior School pupils took part in a range of activities that allowed them to embrace this year’s theme, ‘express yourself’.
By talking openly about mental health from a young age, children can learn to better understand their emotions, break down stigma, and feel safe enough to reach out for help when it’s needed.
Here are some of the things that our year groups have been up to.
Year Six focused on how to help maintain and improve their mental health by finding different ways to express themselves, as well as looking at how they could help improve the mental health and wellbeing of the people they live with.
They kicked off their work by launching ‘Project Smile’ and doing a number of activities that helped with their wellbeing.
One of the activities they took part in was completing an ‘Emotion Chart’. One pupil said they liked filling out the chart as “it helps you express your feelings and, if you are feeling sad, if you write it on a piece of paper, it’s as though you are taking the sadness out of you.” Other pupils mediated, spent time with their pets, played board games with family members, developed their skills on a musical instrument and took time away from their screens.
To put smiles on the faces of others in their house, the children did yoga, helped with the dishes, painted everyone’s toes in the family, gave a massage, helped make breakfast and dinner, fed the pets, helped their siblings with materials for homework, complimented someone and dispensed hugs.
They ended the week by writing a letter to a loved one, neighbour or friend they haven’t seen during lockdown or feel needs reaching out to – with the aim of making them smile.
Year Five took part in a form time activity each weekday to mark Children’s Mental Health Week.
On Monday they spoke about a good deed they had done and how it made them feel and on Tuesday they came up with ideas of what to do when things do not go to plan.
Wednesday’s focus was on turning negative thoughts into positive ones, on Thursday they matched up emotions with emojis and the week culminated with pupils designing a resilience superhero.
Year Four pupils discussed how they can make themselves feel happy if they are starting to feel upset or down or a little lonely. They created and decorated a ‘positivity cube’ which was taken home for children to put positive messages on about themselves so they can look at it if ever they feel down. Other family members even got involved with one girl’s brother putting a message on a cube for her!
The boys and girls also watched a Newsround video about mental health and discussed how children may feel different as some are in school and some are remote learning at home. Keyworker pupils that were in school discussed how nice it would be if a friend at home received a letter from them and how that would make them feel and some of them got to work to comprise a ‘secret’ letter to surprise a friend.
During form time Google Meets, Year Three children told jokes and funny stories and shared riddles and on Wednesday and Friday they, along with their teachers, wore a funny hat to lighten the mood and have the opportunity for a good chuckle.
In Art class they used ‘Beautiful Oops’, a book all about mistakes, as stimulus. The artists used a range of materials and craft items to express themselves.
In Year One, pupils utilised their English language skills to find adjectives to describe themselves. Positive describing words that Lizzie S used included ‘caring’, ‘curious’ and ‘capable’.
In Reception, pupils started Children’s Mental Health Week by learning all about ‘funny tummy feelings.’ The children passed around two feely boxes – one filled with soft, fluffy items and the other filled with rough, hard items. They imagined that the boxes were their own tummies and agreed that if their tummies felt like the soft and fluffy box, they would be feeling happy and excited. If their tummies felt like the other box, they might feel sad or angry. The children decided that it was important to tell a grown up if their tummy was feeling funny and gave lots of great examples of how they could make someone feel better.
They also enjoyed listening to ‘Lucy’s Blue Day’ story. They talked about the things that made Lucy feel happy, sad, jealous and angry and thought about the different things that make them feel those ways too. The children drew a self-portrait of themselves with coloured hair and wrote a sentence to say what makes them feel that way. They had lots of fantastic ideas about what would make them feel happier if their hair was blue!
The children ended the week by choosing a friend to receive a ‘Fabulous Friend’ award. They thought carefully about someone who had made their tummies feel happy and they were all very excited to find out why they had been chosen!
In Pre Reception, the boys and girls thought about different feelings and how to express these feelings to each other.
The children talked about times when they have felt happy, sad, grumpy, excited and even silly! They then enjoyed making ‘faces’ showing how they felt.