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Express yourself: Children’s Mental Health Week

One of our biggest priorities during this period of online learning has been to continue to support our pupils’ sense of wellbeing and to provide a welcoming space where open discussion on mental health is championed.

This week marks Children’s Mental Health Week. With the UK in its third lockdown since the start of the pandemic and our school doors shut once again for the time being, it is paramount that we continue to engage with our pupils on the subject of mental health, providing support, tips, tools, and the all-important space and time to talk. Children’s Mental Health Week has been an opportunity for us to reaffirm our commitment to this side of our pastoral care provision by engaging with our pupils through the lens of this themed week.

Children’s Mental Health Week’s 2021 theme is “express yourself”. Expressing yourself is about conveying your personal feelings, thoughts or ideas through creativity: it is “self” expression. There are so many avenues to explore here for children: art, music, writing, poetry, dance, drama, photography, film, crafts, cookery, acts of self-care or any activities that just make them feel good in themselves. And, importantly, expressing yourself is not about being the best or putting on a performance for others, it is about showing who you are, what the world looks like through your eyes, and what makes you as an individual tick.

Complementing the discussions held virtually in school throughout this week in PSHE sessions, form times and assemblies, pupils have been encouraged to explore the different ways in which they can express themselves. A host of activities designed by Relax Kids and Place2Be have also been provided to jumpstart those creative thoughts, including “express yourself” activity bingo, mindful doodling templates, and art, creative writing and journalling prompts. The idea is for pupils to look inward and express outward, to think about what makes them unique as much as what makes them happy. Pupils have been encouraged to share what they choose to do with us and we have enjoyed seeing and hearing from them very much so far.