Wellbeing & Mental Health
Wellbeing at Mount Pleasant Lane Primary School
At MPL, we are committed to supporting the positive mental health and wellbeing of our whole school community (children, staff, parents and carers). We recognise that our mental health and emotional wellbeing is just as important to our lives as our physical health. We know that children’s mental health is a crucial factor in their overall wellbeing and can affect their learning and achievement. We are committed to removing barriers to learning and work hard to equip children with strategies to manage in times of change, difficulty and stress. We will continue to address and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health difficulties and empower children, staff and parents to reach out and access help when they need it most. We continue to promote positive mental health and wellbeing as an integral part of everything we do. We are all too aware of the devastating impact the pandemic has had on the mental health and wellbeing of many – we are ensuring extra attention is put into identifying and supporting wellbeing as we live with Covid.
We have dedicated wellbeing rooms and facilities to provide safe and welcoming spaces for interventions and therapy.
We currently offer the following provisions to support well-being:
- Children’s Wellbeing Mentor - At MPL we employ a Children’s Wellbeing Worker – Mrs Elaine Appleford. She works directly with children in times of difficulty to support them emotionally – direct work can be offered to address a child’s anxiety, anger, family changes, friendships and self-esteem. The work is personalised to meet each child’s needs and may involve therapeutic interventions such as Drawing and Talking therapy, 1:1 play sessions or simply time to talk through worries. Her role is to remove emotional and social barriers to learning, supporting children to meet their full potential.
- Emotional Literacy Support Assistant – At MPL we have a trained member of staff as an Emotional Literacy Support Assistant (ELSA) – Miss Lauren Wilding. She develops and delivers individualised support programmes to meet the emotional needs of some of our children, recognising that children learn better and are happier in school if their emotional needs are also addressed. Some of the areas she may focus on are social skills, emotions, bereavement, social stories and therapeutic stories, anger management, self-esteem, counselling skills such as solution focus and friendship. ELSA is an initiative developed and supported by educational psychologists, who apply their professional knowledge of children’s social and emotional development to areas of need experienced by pupils. They provide on-going professional supervision to help maintain high quality in the work undertaken by ELSAs, thereby helping to ensure safe practice for ELSAs and pupils alike.
- Family Support Worker
Vista St Albans provides access to emotional wellbeing and early intervention. They aim to support families through difficult times enabling our children and young people to have better outcomes. Vista provide parenting courses and workshops, mentoring and counselling services and family support. We work closely with a Family Support Worker, Leanne Shaw, who is able to support families through self-referral or through school referral.
- Jigsaw PSHE curriculum
Jigsaw offers a comprehensive programme for Primary PSHE including statutory Relationships and Health Education, in a spiral, progressive and fully planned scheme of work, giving children relevant learning experiences to help them navigate their world and to develop positive relationships with themselves and others. With a strong emphasis on emotional literacy, building resilience and nurturing mental and physical health, Jigsaw equips schools to deliver engaging and relevant PSHE within a whole-school approach. Jigsaw lessons also include mindfulness allowing children to advance their emotional awareness, concentration and focus.
- Zones of Regulation
The Zones of Regulation is a curriculum geared toward helping students gain skills in consciously regulating their actions, which in turn leads to increased control and problem-solving abilities. Using a cognitive behaviour approach, the curriculum's learning activities are designed to help students recognise when they are in different states called "zones," with each of four zones represented by a different colour. In the activities, students also learn how to use strategies or tools to stay in a zone or move from one to another. Students explore calming techniques; cognitive strategies; and sensory supports so they will have a toolbox of methods to use to move between zones. To deepen students' understanding of how to self-regulate, the lessons set out to teach students these skills: how to read others' facial expressions and recognise a broader range of emotions; perspective about how others see and react to their behaviour; insight into events that trigger their less regulated states; and when and how to use tools and problem-solving skills.
- Nurture Afternoons
Our Nurture Afternoons are an innovative way of bringing the traditional ‘Nurture Group’ to a whole class setting. Supported by teachers with many years’ experience of running Nurture Groups, we provide Reception and Key Stage 1 with a bespoke afternoon of social and emotional education. Our Nurture Afternoons support children to meet the social and intellectual demands of school life, improving their self-confidence and self-esteem, supporting them to improve their learning behaviours and removing barriers to their learning; we do this through a carefully planned curriculum.
- Forest School
Our Forest School is part of our Reception and Key Stage 1 Nurture provision. The children meet in groups for their own specially planned outdoor lessons. We go outside, no matter what the weather, believing that ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing!’ Learning outdoors relieves stress and helps children to relax and have fun, while exploring the natural world and to build relationships and discover themselves in a uniquely powerful way. The whole school have access to the forest, pond and wooded area to enhance their curriculum and learning too. In KS2 the forest is used by "Woodland Group" which is a nurture intervention targeted for children who are experiencing barriers to their learning in the classroom.