Updated: Jul 3, 2022
It has been fantastic to hear from so many forward thinking schools that are introducing additional wellbeing lessons to next year's curriculum map since our recent blog on ‘Planning For Your Students' Mental Wellbeing - Should It Be A Priority?’
We applaud these schools for leading the way and taking action to support their students' mental wellbeing.
As a teacher tasked with setting up these programmes by senior leadership, it is natural to feel overwhelmed with planning a wellbeing scheme of work from scratch so this blog is going to explore the top 4 things to consider when planning your wellbeing scheme of work for the first time.
1 Create opportunities for physical activity
Physical activity is a great way to boost your students' mental wellbeing but also their engagement in your scheme of work. Opportunities for young people to take part in appropriate physical activities allow them to experience that wellbeing benefit rather than just talking about it.
It is now statutory for schools to teach the link between physical activity and mental wellbeing in RSHE so this should be a cornerstone of your programme.
Help your children RISE Up by giving them a range of activities that transform their wellbeing. Meeting their individual needs and interests is crucial.
Consider how you can offer your children activities that are repetitive in nature to calm their amygdala and increase their window of tolerance.
Can you provide team sports with an emphasis on inclusion so that your students feel loved and can develop social connections?
Can you give your children the opportunity to release stress and tension in a safe and controlled manner?
Finally consider if high tempo workouts that energise, motivate and build their confidence would work for your students.
On our RISE Up teacher training course we teach 4 categories of physical activity that boost mental wellbeing in different ways so that there is a physical activity for every young person.
2 Identify those students who are struggling as early as possible to get specialist support.
The earlier we can identify those young people who are struggling and direct them towards specialist support the sooner they will recover to be thriving again.
As teachers we are not trained to deal with mental health illnesses, and neither do we have the time, so our role is to identify and refer students that are suffering to your school’s mental health support teams, internal specialist counsellors or safeguarding team.
At Future Action we teach a method where teachers can get a snapshot of where each member of their whole class is within 1 minute. This is an incredibly powerful tool to take your school from being reactive in identifying those young people who are struggling with their mental health to proactive.
3. Explore healthy and unhealthy habits
Teaching our children about the impact their habits have on their mental wellbeing is incredibly powerful.
By arming them with this knowledge they develop self care tools that will help them through life, long after they have left you.
Can you teach your children about the impact of exercise, sleep, nutrition, hydration and mindfulness on their mental wellbeing? Give them strategies to make it easier for your students to improve in these 5 key areas.
Consider whether your students are aware of how social media companies operate. Help them understand the positives and negatives of social media and how it has led to a huge increase in mental health illnesses in young people. Give them strategies to help them balance their social media usage.
Finally teach your students how to embed habits so they develop this vital life skill.
Click on this image below to see how the brilliant team at Sprowston Community Academy transformed their students' sleeping habits.
4. Incorporate mental fitness strategies
Use positive psychology to transform your students' confidence and reduce their anxiety.
Mental Fitness is all about building confidence and self-kindness, using worries as a positive and raising aspirations.
It is about helping our students become more self aware and giving them a core of self belief to get them through those times when life gets tough.
Consider giving your students the gift of a strong foundation of self confidence so they can deal with the roller coaster of life. Get your students to consider the things they feel they are good at and where they have had personal success before. Encourage your students to think of these on a regular basis and to hold on to these if they feel low in confidence.
Encourage your students to use worries as a positive by creating a plan to tackle the issue. This will help them take control of the situation and reduce their anxiety.
Teach your students about the 4 Happiness chemicals and how they can access them when they are feeling low.
Help your students become more self aware by teaching them about the power of body scanning and journaling. Once they are self aware they will be able to self-care in the majority of cases.
It can be daunting and time-consuming to create and plan a wellbeing curriculum with accompanying resources from scratch at this time of year.
As a Director of Sport, an educator and course builder, I have collaborated with mental health experts to develop the 'RISE Up' Early Intervention Mental Wellbeing Teacher Training course with real experience of what children need, how teachers can deliver, and to integrate these programmes into a whole school curriculum to have maximum impact.
Of course you can work to build these yourselves, but that takes time, money and the necessary insights which I've developed over 4 years implementing this in my school and over 100 schools all over the world.
The 'RISE Up' Early Intervention Programme is a child centred, affordable and easy to implement set of actions based on a raft of academic research such as the Swarbrick 8 Dimension model, Trauma Informed Practice, The Five Part Model and the Mental Fitness Model by Dorothea McCarthy.
The programme has then been road tested in a range of school settings and refined to create a framework that you can personalise to your setting to create a fantastic solution to your problem.
If you'd like to transform your students and staff next year with a proven online teacher training program to address stress related issues then get in contact with us today.
Or why not take our early intervention scorecard so you can identify your strengths and the key areas you need to focus on as a school.
We can then provide you with CPD and editable resources so you can adapt the resources to meet your students' needs and save yourself hours of planning time in the process.
To take the scorecard click on the image below.