Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health Aims
At Alexander First School, we are committed to supporting the emotional health and wellbeing of all our stakeholders; our pupils, parents and carers, staff and governors.
At our school we know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and at times, anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play.
Good mental health is fundamental to be able to thrive in life. If we are not embedding mental health teaching and learning and resources and support within our school, then we risk failing the next generation right at the start of their lives.
We want our children to be literate and numerate with a wide knowledge and skills base. Alongside this, we want our children to develop their emotional intelligence. We take a holistic approach to each child in our care and we want to help them in every area of their development.
At School we:
• Provide learning opportunities for children through regular teaching of PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) to develop their social skills, understanding what is and what is not appropriate within relationships and how to improve relationships.
• Develop children’s sense of self, boost their self-esteem and feelings of worth and importance within the school community and beyond, into the wider world.
• Help children to develop emotional resilience and manage setbacks.
• Instil in our children the importance of helping others and to gain empathy for anyone in need.
• Teach our children practical ways they can improve their wellbeing on a daily basis, such as getting enough sleep and mindfulness techniques as simple as taking some time to notice the natural world around them.
• Understand the link between physical exercise and good mental health. Our children have a very active school life including PE, weekly football sessions, active playtimes and lots of extra-curricular sporting opportunities.
• We aim to equip our children with tools of self-awareness so that they can reflect on their own state of mental health and know what the possible next steps are if they want to improve it; instilling the idea that talking about our mental health shows strength and not weakness.
• Encourage our children to be kind to each other and gain empathy for those who are facing mental health challenges. We want our children to understand that their actions can impact other’s mental health.
• Work with our local and wider communities to make a positive contribution to charities and individuals. Projects include: the children working with residents at Longlea Nursing Home to enrich the lives of the older community and the young and carol singing at The Savill Garden and Tesco, Windsor.
We promote a mentally healthy environment through:
• Celebrating mental health and wellbeing events such as ‘World Mental Health Day’ and ‘Feeling Good Week’.
• Promoting our school values and encouraging a sense of belonging for all stakeholders.
• Establishing opportunities for pupils to voice their own preferences and ideas regarding mental health and wellbeing events and enrichment within our school.
• Celebrating all achievements, academic and non-academic.
• Providing opportunities to reflect.
For more details on how we are embedding positive emotional wellbeing and good mental health into our school see the Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) Policy.
Attachment Aware and Trauma Informed School
At Alexander First School our staff are trained in attachment and trauma so that we are well placed to meet the needs of children:
Children with attachment difficulties who struggle in school will need a key adult to be allocated to them – to act as an “additional attachment figure”. If that adult can build a trusting relationship with them, and the child knows they can go to them for support that can be a lifeline. They learn that it is okay to trust others. This is epistemic trust, and it is a powerful driver for learning.
Please review our Attachment Aware poster for details on how we implement the approach.
What is a Nurturing School?
Research clearly demonstrates the impact that Nurture can have on attainment as well as social and emotional competences. At the heart of Nurture is a focus on wellbeing and relationships and a drive to support the growth and development of children and young people.
At Alexander First School a Nurturing approach has been promoted as a key strategy to supporting our pupils' behaviour, wellbeing, attainment and achievement. Especially in the case of pupils, such Service children, who experience frequent and unpredictable changes to schooling and family life.
At Alexander First School we follow the six principles of Nurture that:
Emotional Coaching at Alexander First School
Emotion coaching is the practice of talking with children about their feelings, and offering pupils strategies for coping with emotionally difficult situations. The goal is to empathise, reassure, and teach.
At Alexander First School we use emotion coaching to support our children in becoming more aware of their emotions and to manage their own feelings particularly during stressful situations. We aim to validate children's emotions, setting limits where appropriate and problem-solving with the child to develop more effective behavioural strategies. In effect, our emotion coaching techniques instil the tools that will aid children's ability to self-regulate their emotions and behaviour. It enables our practitioners to create an ethos of positive learning behaviour and to have the confidence to de-escalate situations when behaviour is challenging.
Emotion coaching provides a value-added dimension to behaviour management strategies and creates opportunities for longer-term solutions to children's wellbeing and resilience.
Bella our school dog
Hi I’m Bella. I work with Mrs Corcoran, one of our Wellbeing Mentor, looking after the children at Alexander First School. I’m very very important and you will see me on the staff list! I love hanging out in the different classrooms and Mrs Corcoran and I have our own room next to Year 3. I keep my biscuits and my toys in there.
I’m ready to help with any problem but sometimes I just like to sit quietly with someone until they feel better. My main hobbies are chasing tennis balls and swimming in ponds but I also love reading! My work is quite tiring and sometimes I just need a little rest. I’ve been at Alexander First School for nearly two years now and I’m even allowed into Miss Khokar’s office and assemblies.
It’s a great job and I’m a lucky dog to be with Alexander First School pupils.