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Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

Wow what a week this has been!  

We kicked off the week with a hugely informative assembly from Mrs Elizabeth Winfield that helped us to understand what was meant by Mental Health and Wellbeing.  Her creative and practical illustration of the cumulative effect of juggling everyday worries, problems and concerns on the mind was particularly well received and understood by the audience.  Her real life examples of the positive effect of sport enabled her to convey her message to the children.   

She was very ably supported by Rachel Morris MBE, double World and Paralympic Champion.  She was incredible; not only giving all the children the opportunity to touch two Gold medals, sit in the adapted wheel chair, but tailored her workshop to suit the needs of every class.  Reception, who were keen to know how Rachel lost her legs and fulfilled her everyday life, to the Year 7's who were able to discuss transferable skills and the technology being used to develop the latest equipment and achieve marginal gains.  Rachel is travelling to Canada on Friday to compete in the World Championships and was training at 4:30am so as not to miss a training session.  We are truly grateful to Rachel and Elizabeth for giving up their time.   

In addition, the children were fortunate enough to experience workshops in mindfulness and breathing techniques from Miss Bird and Mrs Wielinska.  These were very popular, and I know that many of the children have shared some of these new skills with their parents.     

Tuesday saw our Pre-prep Children focus on Chinese New Year. In addition to the many fun Chinese New Year activities, a mindfulness session was included during which the children listened to relaxing music whilst they worked. Nursery enjoyed Chinese yoga and had fun following the instructions and tying themselves up in the various positions. The whole school showed a ‘can do’ attitude as they valiantly tried to eat lunch using chopsticks and all loved the quotes and inspirational messages in the Fortune Cookies. 

Many of the children have been completing their Happy Journals and treasure hunt for 15 ways to promote positive Mental Health.  The children have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to take part in these activities and I am delighted with the way they have embraced the opportunity.   

On Wednesday we were all truly inspired by our guest speaker, Bartholomew Gee, who shared his incredibly difficult, hard and challenging stories and how he made them all possible.  Bart, as he preferred to be known, closed the assembly by playing “His Eyes on The Sparrow” on the piano, a truly moving and amazing performance that couldn’t fail to impress us all in the room.  Bart followed up the assembly with a workshop for each of the classes from Reception to Year 7. The workshops gave the children the opportunity to experience some of the challenges that he faced as he grew up: from getting off the floor, to eating and drinking as well as playing table tennis and driving his adapted car- sounding the horn was a clear favourite for all!     

On Thursday we were fortunate enough to have a visit from Dr Jo Kelly, Registered Art Psychotherapist, who visited the school to run a therapeutic art workshop with a group of students.  She also took the time to present the benefits of therapeutic supports within the school setting.    

Then it came to Friday - were we, weren't we going to go ahead with the Sponsored Walk? It was raining and Storm Eric was on the horizon, but all the staff and pupils had been inspired by the visitors over the course of the week and weren’t going to be stopped, even if  it was going to be a little bit hard, difficult or even challenging.  Our assembly with Stuart May (@Trek4Mind March 2019 participant) gave an insight into the reason he wanted to fundraise for Mind and what his life will be like as he treks up Mount Kilimanjaro next month.  Stuart also travelled out to the start line with us to set us off on our very own fundraising walk.  Joined by around 30 parents and grandparents, our party of 180 left Cricklade Leisure Centre for the Cotswold lakes.   Congratulations, to all the pupils who completed the 3KM (Reception and Year 1), 6KM (Year 2 and Year 3) and 12KM (Year 4, 5, 6 and 7), and thank you to all the parents and teachers for their support.  It was a great team effort!  

I just wanted to say that my child has come home so inspired each day. I am so impressed that the school have taken the time to invite all these fabulously inspiring people in to talk to the children. I am sure like many of the children, he has really seen that despite adversity, if you work hard you can achieve lots of success.

Year 5 Parent