Strategies to support children's wellbeing in school

<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >Strategies to support children's wellbeing in school</span>

Schools are a safe sanctuary for students, where children learn, live, flourish and forge strong bonds with peers and adults. Experiences in school lay the foundation of a child's personality. Educators have an important responsibility, that of ensuring a child's emotional wellbeing while building on their resilience to cope with challenges in school and life in general. Find out how our schools support children as they undergo physical and emotional changes in life amongst other factors.

Stress can affect even young children. Depression, anxiety, and other disorders often reflect circumstances at home, school, or the wider society. Many of these factors go unnoticed and can sometimes be too late when these observations aren’t addressed at an early stage, especially with teenagers as they struggle with physical and emotional changes in life. 

We hear from Atima Joshi, principal of Middleton International school, on how the school supports its students in dealing with stress while equipping them in building emotional and emotional well-being. You can also tune in to our recent parent workshops, to find out how parents can help to cultivate children's resilience muscle.

1. School staff meetings begin with breathing and/or short contemplative practices.

'We can't help others until we help ourselves.'  In order to equip the community with a sustainable mindfulness practice, the school leadership team and the staff actively practise mindfulness and upskill themselves in this area.

Our emphasis is on keeping the staff wellbeing up as well as model practices that can trickle down to the students. We offer staff time for ‘cuppa and chat’ with the leadership team if they want to have a chat on something they want to offload or share.

2. Partnership with the Contentment Foundation in the US

Our collaboration with the Contentment Foundation is one of the key pillars of our educational ethos. Through this partnership, we practice sessions on mindfulness with the entire community. We start from a point of abundance instead of a deficit. Appreciation, joy, and gratitude are continually fostered through various engagements. Explicit vocabulary is nurtured to describe emotions and how and where they are affecting a child. From writing letters to our emotions to identifying what they may sound like, students undergo a lot of explicit teaching around expressing themselves.
 
3. Supporting families who need extra help 
 
For students and/or families who have had to deal with a challenging situation at home, we put in support structures that are scaffolded based on complexities and levels of intervention required. These include pastoral teacher support followed by inclusive education support depending on the context of the family. Students who show signs of anxiety and stress may also be spotted by the pastoral care staff or their teachers.
 
4. Strategic focus on well-being 
There is a well-being room in the school that students can access, particularly secondary onwards when students are more independent. The well-being coordinator can be a listening ear or can also be someone who triggers support. Parents are important partners in this regard.
 

 

Recently there was a child whose family member was undergoing major treatment. The school equipped the parents with strategies on how to look out for emotional anxiety in the child. At the same time, the teachers in school were paying close attention and supporting the child in different contexts (in class and during playtime).

If required, we also recommend that parents seek external support whereby the school works with external therapists to ensure that there is consistency in the approach. For younger children, we work with parents on trying to identify the triggers and create individual action plans by the teacher if needed.

“Life doesn’t make any sense without interdependence. We need each other, and the sooner we learn that the better for us all.”  — Erik Erikson

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