Mental Health & Wellbeing at How Wood School

Competition winner, Lyla Peck designed our logo to be used on How Wood School’s correspondence.

Mental Health Support Lead: Mrs Kate Saunders

How Wood School recognises the importance of children’s mental health and well-being and the very real need to prioritise it. Our Mental Health Lead (Mrs Saunders) has been in the role for almost three years and plays an active part in both spreading awareness within the school community and supporting children and their families where necessary. Supporting individuals can happen in a variety of ways. Communication and understanding is key and an element of creative thinking can sometimes assist when addressing an issue. Having mental health and the concerns surrounding it as part of the school’s vocabulary means problems can be quickly identified, discussed with the relevant parties and addressed.

It is essential that How Wood School places children’s mental health and wellbeing at the heart of what it does as it is crucial to every child’s development, including their relationships, understanding of themselves, others and the world around them and of course their education.

Pastoral Support: Mrs Nikki Oliver

Alongside teacher support we have our own professionally trained Pastoral Support, Mrs Nikki Oliver for children to discuss feelings, thoughts and emotions with.  A dedicated room, (The Willow Room), is a calm and relaxing space for the children to take some time away from the classroom. This provision at How Wood is rewarded by outstanding behaviour, increased ability to deal with emotions and confidence gained, as our pupils grow and mature.

George Bone, Thomas Barr & Oliver Myers words were combined to create How Wood School’s Mental Health and Wellbeing strap line after they entered our Mental Health Awareness Ribbon Competition – the ribbon is printed with the wording;

“We are important & our feelings matter. Keep Talking.” All staff now proudly wear these ribbons on their lanyards.

Wellbeing

Mental health and wellbeing is embedded in the ethos of How Wood and is tangible throughout the school. During the school year , we plan designated Mental Health and Wellbeing days which include further activities to enhance our mental health and wellbeing.  These days are designed to take time out of the usual school day to understand mental health more deeply. Activities such as yoga, mindfulness workshops, colouring, meditation, rock painting, circle (discussion) times, calming music and reflection are practised so that children can draw on these resources in their daily lives.

Click here to read an article from the Herts Advertiser – How Wood School and Stacey Turner from It’s Okay to Say, Feb 2020.
Mental Health First Aid AT HOW WOOD SCHOOL

We all have mental health, just as we all have physical health. Mental ill health can strike at any time and can affect people from all walks of life.

How Wood School is extremely proud to be the very first primary school in Hertfordshire to have staff complete training in Adult Mental Health First Aid (MHFA). To date 17 members of the How Wood staff team have been trained in MHFA, this is an intensive two day course led by Lucy Hine, accredited Mental Health Training Instructor and Counsellor from Have a Word, Mental Health First Aid Training and Consultancy.

Staff Members who are now accredited as Mental Health First Aiders are:

Mrs Rowe – Head Teacher, Mrs Saunders – Teacher & MH Lead

Mrs Oliver – Teaching Assistant & Pastoral Support, Mrs Parkins – Deputy Head Teacher

Mrs Warner – Teacher, Miss Berry – Teacher, Miss Nixon – Teacher, Mrs Barnes – Teacher

Mrs Reed – Teacher, Mrs Croucher – Teaching Assistant

Mrs Thompson – Nursery Nurse, Mrs Shadbolt – Teaching Assistant,

Mrs Wright – Teaching Assistant, Mrs Stewart – Teaching Assistant & Administrator

Although things are improving, stigma still exists around mental ill health. As a society, we don’t tend to know how to take care of our mental health like we do our physical health. This means that people may not know how to support a friend, family member or colleague experiencing a mental health issue, or where to go for support with their own mental health.

How Wood teaching staff are here for you, as a school support system but also as part of the local community.

Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a training course which teaches people how to identify, understand and help someone who may be experiencing a mental health issue. By recognising the warning signs of mental ill health, we have developed the skills and confidence to approach and support someone while keeping ourselves safe.

Understanding how to support positive wellbeing and tackle stigma in the world around us.

Click here to read the press cutting about MHFA & How Wood in the Herts Advertiser.

September 2020 – MHFA Refresher Course COMPLETED BY ALL TRAINED STAFF

MHFA refresher delivered by Lucy Hine from Have a Word.

Photos of initial courses 2019

Useful links

Place2Be offers practical advice for parents and carers of children aged 5-11. All of their content is created by Place2Be’s parenting experts. It’s based on evidence and their experiences working with children, young people and their families.

Go to the Place2Be Parenting Smart Website

The Whale Therapy Project – Please take a look at this site’s very useful resources.