Here is a how to make a Happiness Box, with a sound rationale for doing so. Written by Barry Carpenter and Bev Cockbill this step by step guide is perfect for welcoming children back to school, or for home learning. In either contexts it enables the child to build their emotional resilience, and self regulate their emotional well being.
Never has compassion in our schools been so crucial than at this current time, where phased re opening of schools is high on the National agenda. It is critical to restoring the emotional well being of our children, teachers, teaching assistants, and school leaders.
This article gives a good overview, and deepens understanding of, what compassion is, and how it might contribute to restoring our schools as mentally healthy places.
Forest Oak School in Solihull have developed SMILE, and ethos based approach to prompting positive Mental Health and emotional well being in children and young people. It is built on the NHS 5 ways to well being.
The approach is currently nearing the completion of a two year research evaluation with 10 other schools being led by Professor Barry Carpenter (Oxford Brookes University), Jo Egerton (Schools Research Consultant) in conjunction with Isabel Gerrard, (Well Being Lead, Forest Oak School), and Amanda Mordey, (Headteacher)
In the current climate we need to be mindful of the support our CYP will need as the gradually return to school . This approach is the perfect example of the Recovery Curriculum in action, and will be the subject of a future podcast with Amanda Mordey, OBE, Executive Headteacher , Forest Oak and Merstone School, Solihull, which will be posted on www.recoverycurriculum.org
The Transition Toolkit at nurtureuk.org by Dr Tina Rae, is a perfect resource for supporting the year 6 to year 7 transition process. At a time when this is likely to be more compressed than planned, the sound evidence base, theoretical underpinning, and brilliant activity cards in the Transition Toolkit are a must for schools.
The design and range of activities would also support many pupils when then come to transition back to schools, and will help teachers support children’s emotional well being, through meaningful and purposeful learning. It can be a dynamic tool, alongside the other Boxes in this series from Nurture UK, in the Recovery Curriculum.
This is an ideal resource at this time of crisis. Highly recommended.
Click the cover image below to download and view attached file below (.docx) file type.
To explore and develop what a Recovery Curriculum might look like in the context of a school’s existing curricula, we’ll be hosting a series of conversations with school leaders, practitioners and researchers over the coming weeks. We’ll be releasing and sharing these discussions as episodes on the new LearningShared podcast.
The first of these episodes is available below.
Episode 1 includes a lecture with visual slides from Professor Carpenter, that delves deeper into some of the ideas, concepts and research behind the Recovery Curriculum Think Piece and begins to think about questions that leaders and practitioners can ask of each other as they prepare to lead the recovery.
Below is an audio-only podcast feed for LearningShared with Episode 1, as well as the video version with presentation slides to accompany the lecture.
Please feel free to share with colleagues and on social media.
LearningShared: Episode 1 – A Recovery Curriculum Part 1 (Loss and Life for our children and schools post pandemic) [AUDIO ONLY]
Dr Tina Rae endorses the Recovery Curriculum. Leading author, prolific writer and academic, famed for her Boxes series with NurtureUK, has endorsed the Recovery Curriculum
“A recent survey undertaken by the charity Young Minds in March 2020 revealed that the current coronavirus pandemic is having a profound effect on young people with existing mental health conditions. Although they understood the need for the measures taken in response to the virus, the report says, this did not lessen the impact. Many of those who took part in the survey reported increased anxiety, problems with sleep, panic attacks or more frequent urges to self-harm.
We know that the impact upon all of us is significant and for those who already have mental health issues the on-going sense of fear and anxiety this is especially concerning. The sense of uncertainty and the transition to a new and insecure reality and ways of living will continue to impact upon all of us – adults and children alike.
The need to understand the impact of such trauma on the whole community has never been more vital. Although young people in this survey were able to identify some of the factors that they found helpful in a time of trauma, we recognised that there will be an on-going need for us all to develop and make use of trauma informed approaches in the aftermath of this pandemic. Children and young people will need to find and build upon their inner resources of resilience and adults will need to do likewise alongside learning how to talk to them about their fears and to do so in a therapeutic way which enable them to heal and to cope in their new reality.
The on-going concern.
We know that our children and young people who already have existing mental health issues will be finding the current lockdown experience particularly stressful and increased levels of anxiety will be the norm. However, it is probably also the case that every child will be experiencing higher levels of stress and anxiety at this time and that when they do eventually return to the school context there will enormous emotional and psychological hurdles to overcome. The need to provide support for increased levels of anxiety and managing the transition to a ‘new normal’ will be on-going.
Never has there been a time when knowing how to manage your own well-being and how to support our children in doing this has been so vital.
This is why we need the Recovery Curriculum in every school across the country. This will be an essential element in ensuring that children and young people and the adults in every school community can safely return to the school context during this on-going pandemic. The Recovery Curriculum identifies the need for compassionate and trauma informed leadership at this time which oversees the development of curricula which therapeutically meets individual needs. This will be a new and more humane and compassionate approach which addresses the embeds the essential elements of relationship, community, transparent curriculum, metacognition and space.
Without such an approach we will not be able to effectively support our traumatised school communities and be able to build a new and more nurturing approach into the ‘new normal’. As a psychologist working with traumatised children and young people and their carers, I fully endorse this approach and hope that every school in the UK ensures that it is adopted and put in place at the earliest opportunity”
Teacher Toolkit Podcast: Ross Morrison McGill interviews Professor Barry Carpenter about his career in Special Educational Needs.
This interview carries a particular focus on the education of children born prematurely, and interest shared by Ross McGill, as a Father to a pre term son, and Professor Carpenter, as an Educator and Researcher in this area.
How will it be for children when they return to school? It would be naive to think that they will pick up where they left off on the day their school went into lock down.
We have been analysing the loss children have suffered during this time, and the potential anxiety and trauma it may cause, with significant impact on their ability to learn effectively.
We have built the construct of a Recovery Curriculum, enabling schools to consider the processes they will need to put in place to successfully transition children back to school. As the word ‘construct’ suggests, this is a process of building, of co -constructing, a curriculum that is responsive to the needs of children, that harvests their experience and makes sense of it emotionally as well as cognitively.
In the coming weeks six school leaders will discuss their responses to the implications of a Recovery Curriculum in their school setting ( Primary, Secondary, and Special) In particular the pedagogy, resources and also the mental health of the children, will be considered. This podcast series will be available on: https://www.evidenceforlearning.net/recoverycurriculum
More details will be posted in the coming days.
We hope you find this thought provoking and insightful.
Stay well – stay strong.
Professor of Mental Health in Education,
Oxford Brookes University
Matthew Carpenter Principal, Baxter College, Kidderminster