With children and parents approaching their ninth week of school closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, three Cheshire primary schools are supporting pupils and parents with wellbeing resources.
A coronavirus and wellbeing page has been set up by Clutton, Little Sutton and Upton Heath Church of England Primary Schools on their websites, featuring activities for children to undertake and sources of support for mental health and wellbeing.
At Little Sutton Primary School, staff have been involved in creating a wellbeing video with advice and tips for children, such as doing things that you love, getting outdoors for fresh air, exercising, keeping brains active with home learning and chatting to a grown up about any worries or fears.
Upton Heath Primary School has also created a video for children, encouraging them to talk to a trusted grown up about any worries they might have. The video features KS, the monkey puppet of KidSafe UK which is a safeguarding programme utilised at Upton Heath. Learning Mentor Jan Morris explains:
“Many children will be finding it very hard to be away from school for so long, away from their usual routines, their friends and their teachers. Parents and carers too will be finding this extended lockdown difficult, particularly the uncertainty of not knowing when it will end. We wanted to help parents and children to navigate this difficult time by providing curated resources to support them, and will provide add new resources each week.”
“The video we created is based on a programme we utilise at Upton Heath called KidSafe. We have been delivering KidSafe sessions to the children of Upton Heath for the past 5 years, along with our puppet KS. The aim of KidSafe UK is to protect, educate and empower children. KS is well known to all the children in school and they often stop by as they are passing to say hello, offer a high five or ask how he is feeling. Yes, even the children in Year 6! He is a very valued member of Upton Heath.”
“We deliver five sessions consecutively to each class, and then deliver a follow up/refresher session three months later. We are always joined by KS and the children enjoy helping him to deal with his ‘yukky feelings’. The main message that the children learn is that if they are feeling sad, scared or worried and get yukky feelings, they should say no, walk away and tell a trusted grown up. With the majority of children not at school at the moment, we wanted to create the video to remind all children of this important message.”
Upton Heath, Clutton and Little Sutton Primary School have also provided school website resources on mindfulness. Year 3 teacher Ms. Dolz of Upton Heath C of E Primary School has encouraged both children and parents to utilise mindfulness, saying:
“Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the here and now without judgement. It is easy when you know how, as any activity can be done with a sense of mindfulness. For example, whilst eating dinner the focus of attention can be directed to the flavours and textures of the food. This means focusing on what is happening now, not yesterday, and not tomorrow.”
“Times as they are, it is even more important to focus our minds and bodies to be in the present moment, without feeling fearful about the future. Practising mindfulness is incredibly empowering to children and it can help them manage stress and anxiety. Moreover, it can help them to feel encouraged to try new things and take more risks, reduce anxiety by focusing their breathing and promote kindness as a replacement for judgement.”
The wellbeing resources can be accessed on the websites for Upton Heath, Clutton and Little Sutton. Little Sutton, Clutton and Upton Heath Church of England Primary Schools are all part of The Samara Trust, a multi academy trust formed in March 2018.