This beautifully crafted article by Jo Egerton and Bev Cockbill describes a school based inquiry, generating an evidence base, from which professional judgements can be made about the effectiveness of emotional well being journals as a resource for promoting positive mental health is children with SEND.
It is timely as it addresses practical approaches to Mental Heath in schools, but also demonstrates the power of classroom-based inquiry as a key approach to professional learning for teachers and teaching assistants.
In this briefing paper, Barry Carpenter looks at who are the children whose mental health are particularly vulnerable, and discusses how the creation of a curriculum around Emotional Well Being, may reduce this significant barrier to achievement. The paper also looks at Mental Health as a pervasive Complex Need in children of all abilities.
This is another rich resource from the prodigious Tina Rae. Complete with CD, this book is packed full of ideas and strategies for building emotional resilience. The age range focus is helpful too, 9 – 14 years. It targets the awkward transition into adolescence, and does not lay responsibility at any particular age phase of education.
The introduction sets out the need in children for direct intervention; such shocking statistics as self-harm has increased by 68% in a decade. Rae then builds the case for resilience as a key tenet to help young people cope with change. She considers a ‘Whole School Approach’ to developing resilience and why it is important. Key approaches such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness are explained in straightforward, accessible language.
The real strength of this book, which will appeal to classroom practitioners, is the 20 sessions around ‘Bouncing Back and Coping with Change.’ The objectives for these sessions are laid out in full and clear guidance, including success criteria, given for the sessions. Each session plan is carefully constructed and accessible. As I read each one I could envisage how to teach it in practice – a true test of their viability . There are photocopiable resources to support each of the sessions.
At every juncture in the sessions there is ample opportunity for the young person to engage deeply, and reflect personally. The sessions take emotionally complex issues and bring them to daily reality in tangible, viable and practical ways. I have often wondered in recent Government proclamations on Emotional Well-Being in Children, what was meant by grit; now I understand thanks to the activities on ‘developing grit to succeed.’
At a time when the mental health issues of our young people are at the forefront of society and awareness, when schools are addressing new policy responsibilities in this area and building curriculum responses to the new designated area of Social, Emotional and Mental Health (Code of Practice on SEND, 2015), this book is both timely and welcome. It is a treasure trove of ideas and resources to create Mental Wealth in our young people.
Pica is often a misunderstood, or as a little known condition in children with developmental disabilities, but it can have a devastating effect on their learning and quality of life. The article below raises some of the key issues in an informative and relevant way.
Click the thumbnail below to open and download the full article.
As schools grapple with the challenges of implementing policy, pedagogy and practice around SEMH , they should certainly look at the potential offered in Books Beyond Words. Don’t be put off by the fact that there are no words! These books allow the emotional centres of the brain to express deep and complex emotions . They will be especially useful for a range of children and young people with SEND. The story format of each books encourages emotional expression , and facilitates resolution to emotional issues that children with Autism , for example, do not find easy to decode.
There are a range of books that particularly support Personalised Learning too. Topics that we may find difficult to articulate to the child, or for which the bog standard leaflet has no relevance, (e.g., managing Type 1 Diabetes) are powerfully expressed through the medium of pictures, in a way that is comprehensible and informative to the child with SEND.
I have work with the Team at Books Beyond Words to classify from their catalogue those books most relevant to SEMH, and Personalised Learning . They will enrich our curriculum journeys in these areas considerably.
This briefing from the Office of National Statistics, (ONS) offers a useful profile of the latest trends in child mental health, and confirms a dramatic increase in mental ill health in Britain’s children.