What a brilliant week celebrating Children’s Mental Health Week through our very own WUS Wellbeing Week, 2024! Embracing ‘My Voice Matters,’ our activities aimed to boost mental, physical, and social wellbeing. Highlights included mindful coloring, mini meditation, a silent disco, mindful knitting, and, of course, hot chocolate and flapjacks.
Monday’s Prefect-led assembly focused on how we can all make our voices heard and the boys did a fantastic job presenting and communicating this important message. We learnt that children and young people who feel that their voices are heard – and that what they say makes a difference – have higher levels of self-efficacy and self-esteem. They also have a greater sense of community – and as people become empowered, they can work together to create positive changes for themselves and for others.
The boys also explained that we can share our voices in lots of creative ways. That’s why we were joined by dance students Zai and Luke from the English National Ballet School. Zai and Luke’s brilliant performance demonstrated that we can all express ourselves, and our emotions and thoughts, in lots of amazing, creative ways… we can dance, we can play music, we can make art! We were all incredibly inspired by their dancing and their words. It was a brilliant way to kick off the week!
Below is a snapshot of just a few of the other exciting wellbeing activities the boys could get involved with, all of which focused on boosting their mental, physical and social wellbeing.
Mindful Mood Jar Making
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. Firstly, 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 and Silent Disco!
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 Tuesday in outfits that expressed various aspects of ourselves.
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!
On Thursday, both the Junior and the Senior boys attended Mindful Knitting with Mrs Adams and Mrs Waggett. We taught the boys how to savour the details of an experience and reminded them that crafting has been shown to help our mental health – a hormone called dopamine is released in our brain, which gives us a feeling of elevation and lifts our mood.
Thursday’s Church Address
In my address to the boys on Thursday morning, I reminded us of the transformative power of kindness. I explained that kindness is more than just a ‘nice thing to do’. It plays a crucial role in our physical and mental well-being: it is good for the heart; it slows the ageing process; it makes us feel happier; and it’s contagious! Studies show that kindness creates a ripple effect that spreads outwards to our friends’ friends’ friends – that’s an amazing three degrees of separation! This means that when you are kind to one person, that one act of kindness will positively affect up to 125 people. I encouraged our community to give time, empathy, support and thought to themselves and those around them, because if genuine, kindness has the power to change people’s days, to change lives and to change the world.
Boys have been invited to take part in the annual Random Acts of Kindness Week which falls during half term. They have all been sent home with a Kindness Challenge Pack – we hope they enjoy getting involved and spread a little joy!
Half a wonderful half term break!
Mrs E R Kullmann
Assistant Master, Pastoral