Mental Health & Wellbeing
What do we mean by mental health and wellbeing?
In short, mental health is about how we think, feel and behave, and wellbeing is our holistic health, for example our physical and emotional wellbeing. When our wellbeing is good, we feel we can cope well, feel balanced, motivated, engaged and resilient.
At IJS we believe being a mentally healthy school is key to providing a nurturing, safe space for our children and everyone who works within it. We are very aware there is no one single way to provide our children at IJS with a mentally healthy environment, and so we have adopted a ‘whole school approach’, and have a wide range of interventions that we can offer your child, should they need and want support.
What is a ‘whole school approach’, and what does that look like at IJS?
A whole school approach is when everyone who makes up IJS, such as staff, parents & carers, governors and the wider community, work together to ensure mental health and wellbeing is at the forefront of everything we do, and offer. After all, how can we help your child to feel nurtured and to grow if our environment, or our staff are not mentally healthy too!
What do we do as a whole school to support pupil mental health and wellbeing?
As well as our inclusion processes, our specialist provision, (the Learning Zone) and Forest School, all children have access to our mental health team, consisting of non-teaching staff and pupils. Children learn coping strategies, such as daily mindfulness and meditation practice and calm corners, as well as having access to a whole host of support through inclusion such as drawing and talking sessions, nurture and our jigsaw families programme.
Our aim as a school is to make sure;
The whole school community feels valued and respected
Students enjoy a safe, positive environment to learn, create and play
All children are given the opportunity to access a key staff member to speak openly with and about any issues they’re facing
Overcome barriers to learning
We recognise the importance of promoting wellbeing to staff to support their own mental health. Teaching and support staff have regular CPD, and opportunities to support their personal wellbeing, as well as current information and guidance to address the impact of working with the stressors of a school environment.
We recognise at IJS that young people who feel a secure sense of belonging are in a position to get the very best out of their learning experience and so everything the school does is underpinned by our children’s wellbeing, and in line with our vision that IJS is a place to learn, a place to feel safe, a place to find help, and a place to have fun.
Here is what a few of our children at IJS have to say:
‘Being a student at IJS has helped me a lot with my Mental Health. We have special days for our MH. We can wear wacky clothes, or our PJs to school.'
Year 6 Pupil
‘I am part of the confidence and self-esteem group. Before I felt like I couldn’t be myself and struggled to show who I really am. I had the opportunity to get my worries off my chest. We wrote affirmations to say daily, they have made me believe in myself more. I feel like it’s easier now to be the real me.’
Year 5 Pupil
‘What has helped me with my mental health?
I don’t have to keep my thoughts in my head
I can EXPRESS myself
You can feel like yourself
You feel like you’re not alone
I feel like it helps my brain to get it all out
Like you always have someone to talk to’
Year 6 Pupil