11 Oct

Promoting positive mental health and well-being for both students and staff continues to be a key focus at the Learning Centre and to acknowledge ‘World Mental Health Day’ on Thursday 10th October, we held our own ‘Well-Being Afternoon’ involving a range of alternative activities. Mrs Wright, our Mental Health and Well-being lead, explains more:

We decided to focus on the ‘Five Ways to Well-being’ which are Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. Each activity on offer allowed our young people to achieve one or more of the ‘Five Ways to Well-being’ with most of our students achieving all five throughout the afternoon! The activities included Mindfulness Baking, Relaxation and Massage, Tai Chi, First Aid, Sign-a-Long, Lego Therapy, a Health Walk and a Gratitude Café which the Employability Group helped to run. This involved the Employability Group serving drinks and biscuits to the students and helping them to write a gratitude postcard to someone they wanted to say thank you to. They also chatted to the students about how they were feeling, using the “Ask Twice” initiative, where you ask a second time to make sure someone is actually feeling OK. It was fantastic that our IB and E-Base students visited the café as well.

Those on the Health Walk braved the rain..

..with some really enjoying the puddles! (as Year 12 student Aimee joyously shows)

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The cakes made in the Mindfulness Baking were delicious and these were offered to staff and students each with a special message attached.

Mrs Burston reports: “We made butterfly cakes with butter cream filling, all hand mixed, with positive messages attached. We ‘took notice’ of the taste and smells, ‘learnt’ how to make them, were ‘active’ in the mixing by hand and ‘connected’ as a group and by giving them to others at the end. We had a calm environment with soft tranquil music playing and worked together to help one another. We went through the different areas of focus at the start of the group and completed their 5 areas of focus at the end.”

We had some very adept students learning first aid..

..who rushed to help Mrs Taylor when she ’fell over’ – everyone is safe with Kim Chi around!

Lego Therapy was thoroughly enjoyed, and this is something we will be looking to use during interventions to help our young people express their thoughts and feelings.

The Sign-a-Long session saw students learning to sign to a selection of songs..

Relaxation and Tai Chi sessions put an air of calm across the Learning Centre as Mrs Keane explains..

Our relaxation sessions took place in the Interactive Learning Suite. We turned the bright lights off and had a lovely ‘under the sea’ projection on, with soothing music on we set our scene and mood – which was ‘calm’. We began with some deep cleansing breaths, then we sat quietly and felt our heart beating, we were so quiet that we tried to hear our own heartbeats. Then we did a short, guided meditation where we relaxed each part of our bodies, finishing with a shoulder rub.

We decided to start doing Tai Chi in our form group after a taster session on the staff training days. The students really enjoy it, so we put in our programme for World Mental Health Day. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese form of martial arts. It combines deep breathing with flowing movements and is proven to reduce stress and improve posture. The students practised some basic moves such as ‘parting the water’ and ‘ball in the mountain’. It had a calming effect on everyone, and all the students seemed to like it.

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The calmness of the Learning Centre during the afternoon was even commented on by a visitor we had that day. It was fantastic to see our young people really enjoying themselves but, most importantly, it is essential that we help them to learn ways to keep themselves mentally healthy. As always, the staff at Learning Centre were amazing, delivering each activity with enthusiasm and helping our young people to understand about their mental well-being.

Following the success of the afternoon, we have decided to hold half termly ‘Well-Being Afternoons’ at the Learning Centre.

Have a great weekend,

Dawn

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