At Great Hockham Primary and Nursery School we are very aware of the daily demands placed on our pupils and their families, therefore we are committed to the well- being of all our pupils. Covid-19 has had an impact on some of the activities listed below - as we aim to keep pupils in their bubbles. We are working hard to ensure that despite this our children still have opportunities to flourish. We will resume our full programme to pupils as soon as our risk assessing, and Government advice indicate that it is safe to do so.
There is a lot in the news about mental illness but if we can encourage our pupils to become resilient, have high self esteem, to be able to share how they feel and to be open-minded, we can help to keep our pupils mentally well.
With the support of Nadine Avenal and the Compass Network Group, we introduced our Nurture Nest. This is a quiet, calm and safe space for the children to talk, to reflect and to explore their feelings through art, stories, games and play.
Two members of staff, Leanne Shiplee (Teaching Assistant) and Anna Dobbin (Teacher) completed Mental Health Champions training through the LINK team and lead the Nurture work within school.
As well as our Nurture Nest we also introduced small but simple measures to support children across the whole school.
- Every class has a Time to Talk box, where the children can write their name and the name of the adult they would like to talk and place it in the box discretely.
- Every child completes a ‘helping hand’, choosing 5 safe people they can turn to at school. Reception children all have Year Six buddies.
- We have sensory circuits to help prepare the children for the school day, and finally we have a daily message board where children, parents and staff are invited to write down responses to a daily theme. For example, Monday Moods – how do you feel today? Thoughtful Tuesday – How have you’ve been kind today? Weather Wednesday – what do you see when you look at the clouds?
- We dedicate time at the beginning of each academic year to developing children’s mental wellbeing and to growth mindset. We believe that a positive approach to learning gives the children the best start to the year ahead.
- School assemblies are held to support mental wellbeing and growth mindset.
- Children are encouraged to flourish through Character Education. This is used to promote the attributes that form good members of the school and wider community. We use our Say it, Define it, Use it, strategy to encourage the children to adopt each attribute.
We feel confident that our pupils feel safe and supported in school. The small size of the school gives us a sense of community, where everyone is valued and respected. Negative feelings and emotions are accepted as ‘normal’ but the children have strategies in place to help them handle these emotions. External visitors often comment on our nurture and care for one another as a strength of the school.