Emotional Health and wellbeing
After the uncertainty of 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic, it became clear that emotional health, wellbeing and social skills for children needed be a priority for the children in our school. We recognise the importance of this work and, as such, have invested in targeted interventions to support children through their school life and beyond. These include Thrive, ELSA (Emotional Literacy support) and Drawing and Talking. We are lucky enough to have dedicated members of staff who who are highly skilled at delivering this work in our school. Miss Gall (Pastoral Support) and Ms Fisher (Safeguarding Support Officer) are Youth Mental Health First Aiders along with Mrs Rushton (Pastoral Support) who is the Mental Health First Aider for adults. Referrals for emotional support can come from any school staff. If you feel that your child needs extra support in any of these areas please speak to your child's class teacher.
In Summer 2021, our old caretaker bungalow was renovated to provide dedicated space for children to access mental health and wellbeing interventions. It is a warm, inviting, safe place where children feel comfortable to share their thoughts, feelings and emotions. There are two Thrive rooms where children are able to engage in expressive arts, sensory experiences and mindfulness along with a kitchen that is used for baking and cooking. There is also an extra learning space which is used for nurture groups, intervention sessions for Maths and English, and our Windmill Communi-tea mornings.
"I feel calm when I am in The Bungalow. It is peaceful and you get to talk about how you feel which is nice. You get to have quiet time when you feel upset"
Y6 child - December 2021
Mrs Rushton and Miss Gall became our first Thrive Practitioners in September 2021.
Thrive is a child-centred approach which draws on the latest research from neuroscience, attachment and current models of child development to help us understand what needs are being signalled by a child's behaviour. We believe children are not always able to put their needs into words but the way in which they behave can tell us a lot about how they are feeling.
By working with class teachers, Thrive practitioners will carry out assessments to identify the social, emotional and behavioural needs of children in our school which will inform the work that we do surrounding this. Implementing an action plan of targeted strategies and activities will help to re-engage children with learning and give them the tools they need to regulate their emotions.
Through play and arts-based activities, children are supported to: become more resilient, raise their self esteem, form trusted relationships, to be compassionate and empathetic, and to be able to overcome difficulties and setbacks that they may face.
In January 2022 our whole staff team will receive training which will enable Thrive to become an integral part of our school life and be embedded into all parts of our curriculum.
ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support)
Mrs Rushton completed her ELSA training with local Educational Psychologists in November 2021. As an ELSA (Emotional Literacy Support Assistant) Mrs Rushton can support the emotional development of children and young people in school. This intervention delivers individualised and targeted support for a specific emotional need such as: social skills, loss and bereavement, low self esteem, friendships skills and emotional awareness. By developing the skills taught through this programme, children subsequently become more emotionally resilient which leads to children learning more effectively and feeling happier in school.
ELSA is part of the MHST (Mental Health Support Team) for Kirklees and the educational psychologists provide ongoing professional supervision to help maintain high quality in the work undertaken thereby helping to ensure safe practice for ELSAs and pupils alike.
Drawing and Talking Therapy
Drawing and Talking is a therapeutic technique that supports the mental health and emotional wellbeing of children at Windmill. Children will work with Miss Gall, who completed this training in October. This programme is a 12 week therapy for use with children who have underlying emotional difficulties. For those children who benefit from a non-intrusive approach to emotional wellbeing, this technique enables them to process feelings and emotions which otherwise they may find difficult to discuss.
After completion of Drawing and Talking, children are more able to control their behaviour, manage their emotions and have higher self esteem.