For the past few years we have been working hard to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in the school. Minding our mental health is a complex business and there is no magic wand available for protecting our mental health. Every year we celebrate positive mental health in the month of January and in all classes throughout the school this topic is explored in an age appropriate manner.
The SPHE (Social, Personal and Health Education) curriculum is taught in all classes for one half hour a week. The encouragement of growth (rather than fixed) mindsets are nurtured throughout the school. In addition to this we have undertaken a number of other initiatives to support positive mental health:
- Every morning we have a one minute reflective pause where the children in all classes stop and reflect. During this moment’s silence the children are encouraged to breathe deeply, practise mindfulness, say a prayer or simply stop being busy for a moment. The children are free to chose how they spend the moment in keeping with their own needs and beliefs.
- The Roots of Empathy programme is taught in 2nd class every year. This is a programme where a mother and new baby visit the class over the course of the year and the baby teaches the children all about empathy. This is a very popular programme and research has shown it to be highly effective in nurturing empathy in the children.
- In 4th class the children are offered a ten week Mindfulness workshop.
- This year the Weaving Wellbeing Programme will be taught in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th classes. This is a positive psychology programme that teaches the children all about identifying character strengths, positive emotions, resilience and positive relationships. We hope that these initiatives will help enhance positive mental health, resilience and well -being in all our students and that by the time they leave DPETNS they will have the language and the skills they will need to cope with the ups and downs of life.