Curdworth Primary School pupils are benefitting from an innovative programme designed to support children’s mental health and wellbeing as they settle back into school following lockdown.
The caring school, which is part of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership, has been working with Coleshill’s ‘Relax Kids’ to help pupils build confidence and develop key life skills through relaxation and mindfulness activities.
Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 took part in six ‘Relax Kids’ sessions, which included scavenger hunts and finger breathing exercises. Some of the classes took place during lockdown over Zoom and coach Alison Core also ran a catch-up session with year 5/6.
Curdworth headteacher, Lisa Dodd, is a qualified mental health first aider who has organised training in this area for schools across the ATLP. She said: “We put ‘Relax kids’ into key stage 2 this year because we noticed several of our older children experiencing anxiety, stress and unsettled behaviour when they returned to school in September following the first lockdown.
“The sessions have enabled us to have a shared language and some fabulous strategies to use with the children if they need to regulate their emotions.”
She added: “During the sessions, the children have also learnt about how their brain works in terms of their emotions. Alison has also provided each class and our school with a ‘calm box’ with resources for children to use when they need to regulate their emotions. This intervention and the resources provided has meant that children have been a lot more settled when returning from the most recent lockdown. Alison is amazing, the children have loved their sessions with her – every school needs an Alison!”
Year 3 and 4 children told Mrs Dodd how beneficial the classes were:
“I loved doing the ‘baking a cake’ massage activity. It helped me to relax and was really fun,” Lilly said.
Yvie said: “The best bit was getting to lie down and relax.”
“On our Zoom calls we did a really fun scavenger hunt,” said Dylan. He added: “”It was really interesting to learn about our brain!“
“’Relax Kids’ helps you to feel less stressed. We learnt that if you breathe then you can become calmer.” Amelie said.
Ruby added: “I learnt to use finger breathing when I feel angry or upset.“
Year 5/6 class teacher Meg Rice said: “The children in my class have loved their ‘Relax Kids’ sessions and so have I! Alison has taught the children some excellent techniques to use when they need to feel calmer which they do use at school and at home.”
Coach Alison Core said: “’Relax Kids’ offers a unique system of children’s relaxation and mindfulness that helps decrease stress and anxiety while improving concentration and confidence.
“Sessions incorporate movement and exercise, mindfulness and relaxation games, stretching, self-massage, breathing techniques, affirmations and visualisations. At the core of Relax Kids is an understanding of how the brain works and how to recognise and self-regulate emotional triggers.
“The last 12 months have been tricky times for all of us and children have had to cope with several periods of change and uncertainty. The children at Curdworth Primary have really embraced our sessions in school as well as online and it is great to hear how they have benefited from them. Hopefully, I’ve given them some skills for life whilst they’ve been having fun!”