Mental Health and Wellbeing at Harewood Primary SchoolAt Harewood Primary School, we are committed to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our children and staff.
Our culture is supportive, caring and respectful. We encourage children and staff to be open and we want everyone’s voice to be heard.
At our school we know that everyone experiences life challenges that can make us vulnerable and, at times, anyone may need additional emotional support. We take the view that positive mental health and wellbeing is everybody’s business and that we all have a role to play.
Please find our Mental Health and Wellbeing policy below:
The body’s alarm system (the amygdala) is located in the brain. It is designed to recognise danger and prepare our body to react to it.
When it’s working properly, it should send signals only when there is real danger present. Sometimes, we see threats where there is no actual danger present (e.g. having to speak in public, someone accidentally bumping in to you). This can trigger our alarm system and send some people into full blown fight, flight or freeze mode.
Fight can look like:
- throwing anything he can get his hands on
- his hands clasped in fists, ready to punch
- clawing at the air
- gasping for breath
Flight can look like:
- darting eyes
- excessive fidgeting
- doing anything to get away
- running without concern for his own safety
Freeze can look like:
- holding his breath
- heart pounding and/or decreased heart rate
- shutting down
- feeling unable to move
- escaping into his own mind
- feeling numb
See this animation for a really useful explanation of the fight/flight/freeze response: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bKuoH8CkFc
How to help a child when they are unsettled or upset
If a child becomes unsettled or upset, they need an adult’s help to ‘regulate’ their emotions and help them to become calm and relaxed.
In school, we adopt a ‘regulate – relate – reason approach’ to ensure that the child’s mental health and wellbeing is supported. The same approach can be applied at home. Creating calm, nurturing environments where children feel safe, secure and valued is really important in helping a child sense of wellbeing.
See this animation to find out how a child can swings from fight/flight to freeze/collapse and what adults can do to help bring the child back into their ‘window of tolerance’ so they can be at their personal best.
There are many ways to help ‘emotionally regulate’ a child when they are unsettled or upset.
Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation
Yoga, mindfulness and relaxation activities are a great way for both children and adults to help ease stress, anxiety and tension. At Harewood, teachers often use these resources to create Wellbeing Breaks during the school day. You could also try these activities out at home when you would like your child to take some time to relax and unwind. Notice the difference they make to how your child is feeling and behaving.
You can find lots of these activities at the links below.
Talking to my child – it’s good to talk
When you work on developing good communication with your child, it helps your child to develop skills for communicating with you and other people. It also builds your relationship, because it sends the message that you value your child’s thoughts and feelings.
See these useful guides on ‘Talking to my child’ and ‘You’re never too young to talk mental health’
Information for Parents