What a brilliant week we’ve had celebrating Children’s Mental Health Week through our very own WUS Wellbeing Week 2022!
The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week was Growing Together and we celebrated this alongside a focus on general wellbeing.
Over the course of the week from 7 to 13 February, boys were able to attend a number of wellbeing activities that were run by our wonderful teachers and prefects that encouraged them to grow together, alongside boosting their mental, physical and social wellbeing. Our lunches each day also included special menus with ‘brain boosting’ and ‘energising’ recipes, and our assemblies and church service all focused on how we can look after our mental health. We also got everyone involved in mindfulness exercises with short mindful mediations and mindful colouring each morning.
Below is just a small snapshot of what we all go up to!
Prefect Led Wellbeing Week Assembly
Our prefect team led a brilliant assembly focusing on our emotional growth. They used the helpful analogy of the rings in a tree trunk to explain to the boys that even though times can be tough and we may feel as though we are going backwards in our growth, we are still growing and developing emotionally. This is because trees continue to grow new rings each year, even with too much wind, rain, sun, a lack of protection or pests:
‘Feelings of going backwards, or not growing, are very ordinary, but even when we feel like things are not going right in our lives, we can continue to develop and grow – just like the tree can grow even when the conditions aren’t quite right. We just need to see these moments as signals that remind us of how much we need others in our lives to help us to keep growing. This could be our parents and carers, our teachers, our friends. Because we often need others to help us to believe in ourselves, to keep going, and to try doing things a bit differently.
After being introduced in our Monday morning assembly, the boys were able to spend some quality time with Nellie, Belle, Moomin and Truffles out on the small courts. Research has shown that interacting with a friendly pet can help our mental health: it can release endorphins that produce a calming effect, which in turn helps to reduce stress and improve your overall psychological state. The boys loved spending time with the dogs – it was a truly joyful break time! What was especially lovely was the way in which it brought boys of all year group together.
Mindful Knitting and Mindful Eating
On Tuesday both the junior and the senior boys attended mindful knitting with Mrs Adams and Mrs Waggett, and mindful eating with Mrs Kullmann – this wasn’t a lesson in what you should eat, or what makes a healthy diet, but instead a session that focuses on switching off from autopilot mode…that mode when you just automatically and unconsciously do everything without actually thinking about what you’re doing! We taught the boys how to savour the details of an experience, and what better a way to teach that than through the art of savouring some sweet treats!
Mindful Mood Jars
With their swirling patterns and pop of sparkle, these glitter jars or ‘calm down jars’ are the perfect antidote for those of us who are feeling stressed, anxious or simply want to take some time out – they really do help to soothe and calm troubled minds. First, the boys got to make their own mood jar, then they were able to use them and see first-hand how they can help with our emotions – watching the chaos of all the swirling glitter settle to the bottom is a short mindful exercise that helps us to recognise that we, too, can take a moment to calm down and let all those things swirling around in our minds settle and be still.
Express Yourself Mufti Day
As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, the Charity Place2Be encourages schools to spend one day expressing ourselves. So, we took part in the Express Yourself Mufti Day, with boys attending school on Thursday in outfits that expressed various aspects of ourselves:
- Who we are – boys came dressed in clothes that represent their culture and heritage
- What we love/love doing – boys came dressed up in their football gear, their science coat, their karate kit
- What we are currently feeling – some boys wear clothes that represented their emotions that day
We raised £621 for Place2Be which is a brilliant achievement!
Express Yourself Silent Disco
Our best expression, though, came through our Express Yourself Silent Disco! It was hard to capture the sheer joy of this event – it was disco dark, after all! – but the boys had a blast boogying away to a variety of tunes through their lit-up headsets, their glow sticks waving around to the beat of the music. Inhibitions flew out the window and there were some amazing moves on the dance floor. It brought all the years together and it was brilliant to see Year 3 boys dancing away with the Year 8s!