Good morning, Prep School family,
I hope that you are well and that you have had a lovely weekend. Can you believe that we are only 38 days into this year. . .it seems much longer than that! I had a relatively quiet weekend. I went to see a band play in our local village hall on Friday night with my dad. It is a band called Creegan and Co. The lead guitarist, Jim Creegan, used to play with Rod Stewart for many, many years. So, unsurprisingly, they play all of Rod Steward classics and I am a sucker for a bit of Rod the Mod! Mr Bennett and I did lower the average age of the audience by about 35 years! On Saturday, I saw my cousin and my 91-year-old uncle for a cup of tea and then in the evening, I went out for a family meal. Sunday, as per usual at the moment, consisted of adult jobs such as cleaning the bathroom and food shopping! As my dad would say, life is very Rock n Roll!
Nationally, this week is Children’s Mental Health Week and it is also Highclare Prep School’s annual Well-Being Week. . . this is not a coincidence. It is excellent planning on our behalf. This year, we are focusing our week on the theme of ‘Lets Connect’. The children will be doing a huge variety of activities in school, both inside and out of the classroom, to raise awareness and develop a greater understanding of this topic. ‘Let’s Connect’ is about making meaningful connections for all, during our Well-Being Week– and beyond. People thrive in communities, and this connection is vital for our well-being. When we have healthy connections – to family, friends, our school communities, to nature, to ourselves etc. – this can support our own mental health and our sense of well-being. When our need for valuable, supportive and rewarding social connections is not met, we can sometimes feel isolated and lonely – which can have a negative impact on our mental health. We do not want this at Highclare. This week, we will be teaching the children all about connectivity in numerous ways.
I am sure (I hope!) that the children will keep you fully up to date on what they are doing daily and I will ensure that plenty of photographs are posted on our social media sites. Our days are named this week, so if your child(ren) comes home talking about Mood Monday, Talk About it Tuesday, Wisdom Wednesday, Thursday Thoughts or Friday Feeling, you will know they are referring to Well-Being Week!
As you know, emotional and mental fitness are so important to us in the Prep School. It is at the core of all that we do. It is important for our whole school community – the children, the staff and you as parents. We need to look after ourselves to enable us to look after each other. We need to know that it is ok not to be ok and we need to be able to talk to a trusted person and express our feelings. You cannot pour from an empty cup.
It is easy for us as teachers, friends and parents to identify a child’s physical needs: we know when they are hungry, we give them delicious and nutritious food. If they are cold or going out in extreme weather, we dress them appropriately. We ensure that our children go to bed at a reasonable hour, as we all know how vital sleep is for us all. On an aside, we should never under value the power of a good sleep. . . sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being throughout your life. The way you feel while you are awake depends, in part, on what happens while you are sleeping. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function and maintain your physical health. You never need an excuse to have an early night again, all you need is the science behind sleep.
However, a child’s mental and emotional needs may not always be as obvious to us or as easy to identify. Some children present outwardly as perfectly fine. They are happy, smiling and always surrounded by friends – however, what may be happening on the inside could be totally opposite. For some adults, the idea of mental health and emotional well-being in children can be a really scary topic to talk about and this is ok to feel this way. However, one thing that we as adults cannot do, is brush this topic under the carpet and hope it goes away. Good mental health allows children to think clearly, develop socially, learn new skills and make good academic progress. Additionally, good friends and encouraging words from adults are all important for helping children develop self-confidence, high self-esteem and a healthy emotional outlook on life.
At school, we actively promote talking about feelings and emotions. We encourage the children to challenge how they are feeling and to take ownership of their attitudes and emotions. We also ensure that the children know that they can ask for, and will get help, if they need it. By doing this and enabling our children to have a deep understanding of their well-being and mental health, we will hopefully be raising well-rounded, determined and extremely resilient individuals who are able to embrace the challenges that they will face growing up and through the rest of their lives. We are also making it ok and normal to ask for help, for those times in the future when faced with extra tough times.
So keep talking to your children, have those difficult conversations if needed, show them it is ok not to be ok, let them see you cry, respect their emotions, show them healthy relationships and enjoy the small things together.
Our children are growing up so fast, don’t miss out on this. Take a few moments each day to really enjoy them and to appreciate the amazing little humans you have raised.
Quote of the week: “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.” — Albus Dumbledore
Well-being tasks for this week: These tasks are for a happier start to the year. February’s tasks are based around being friendly. This month, let’s focus on reaching out to connect with others and doing our best to be a good friend. Our acts of kindness and connection ripple out and impact so many more people than we realise – and they also boost our own happy hormones too! In stressful times people around us may be feeling the strain, so let’s try to keep calm, take time to listen and show compassion
Tuesday 7 February – Show an active interest – talk to others and ask questions
Wednesday 8 February – Share how you are feeling with someone you trust
Thursday 9 February – Thank someone and tell them how they made a difference to you
Friday 10 February – Look for the good in others, especially when you feel frustrated by them
Saturday 11 February – Send an encouraging note to someone
Sunday 12 February – Focus on being kind rather than being right
Monday 13 February – Smile at the people you see to brighten their day
Jokes of the week:
What do you call a sleeping dinosaur?
Why was the Stegosaurus such a good volleyball player?
Because he could really spike the ball
What does a triceratops sit on?
What do dinosaurs use on the floors of their kitchens?
What do you call a palaeontologist who sleeps all the time?
Sleeps til Santa: 320 sleeps til Santa
5 things that I am grateful for or looking forward to this week:
Can you try this simple exercise in gratitude and positivity?
- I am looking forward to film night on Thursday at HPW
- I am looking forward to our School Council meetings this week
- I am looking forward to going to having Arthur for a sleep over this weekend
- I am grateful for a weekend spent with family
- I am grateful for the noticeably lighter mornings
I hope you all have a super week and not long to go until half term! Take sometime this week to look after your own mental health and well-being – go for a coffee with a friend, have an afternoon nap, take a walk on your own, do whatever you need to this week, even if it’s only for 10 minutes. You are so important – remember that.
Lots of love