A brand new report published by the Anna Freud Centre finds that 93% of 3,000 young people surveyed in the UK want mental health to be brought into the classroom.
And as schools once again open their doors to all students, student mental health and wellbeing is a primary focus. With many students having taken part in home learning for several months, re-establishing routines and cultivating a supportive learning environment is a top priority for many schools.
That’s why we have created five wellbeing activities for you to do with students, so that you can bring mental health into your classroom.
Each of the activities draws on ‘The Five Ways to Wellbeing’, ensuring an evidence based approach to Student Mental Health and Wellbeing.
1. Connect: A Whole Class Letter to another Class.
At the moment students may not be able to move around the school as much, resulting in them spending more time in their classrooms, and less time interacting with other students in the school. A whole class letter to another class can help them to feel connected to other students in school, and it doesn’t involve a screen!
Your letter can be made up of an individual note from each individual student in your class, they can decorate their note and then stick this to a large piece of paper. (A2/A3) This will create the whole class letter!
Your letter can include:
- What your class has been doing recently.
- What your class is looking forward to doing with the other class soon.
- How your class has been feeling.
You can then post your letter to the other class at a convenient time!
2. Be Active: An After Lunch March.
In the afternoon students may find it harder to focus, especially after they’ve eaten. A good walk outside, even if it’s just around the playground can be a great way of re-energising for the afternoon! Make your afternoon march as fun and engaging as possible.
Ask for a volunteer to lead the march each day and ask them to vary their movements.
- Knees up as high as you can
- Star Jumps
- Tip Toeing
- Swerving from side to side.
- Hopping on one leg.
3. Notice: Good Posture Exercise
This exercise is all about bringing awareness to our body and how good posture can contribute to feeling positive.
Ask students to sit in a chair with their backs straight against the chair back and their feet flat on the floor. (Try to encourage students to still have a relaxed and not tense posture.) Ask students to breathe slowly and to focus on the way their breath feels. Ask students to think about how their back feels against their chair, how their feet feel flat on the floor, and how their shoulders feel sitting up straight.
This is a great way of students taking notice of how they are feeling.
4. Learn: 6 new words activity.
One afternoon each week, select a new word for the students to learn. Write the word on the board and ask the students what they think it means. Try and make the word as interesting and unique as possible. Once you have learnt the word, you can also ask students to write a story including the word. Do this each week, at the end of term, ask students if they remember the meaning of each word.
5. Give: ‘At home I will…’
Kindness is shown to improve mental health and wellbeing. One act of kindness a week is connected to positive wellbeing. Ask students to commit to one act of kindness each week that they will do at home. This could be something really simple, like doing the washing up after dinner, helping a younger sibling with their homework, or changing one small part of their behaviour to make something easier for their parents/carers.
Are you looking for even more ways to bring mental health and wellbeing into your classroom?
OpenView Education provides Mental Health and Wellbeing workshops for EYFS, KS1, KS2 & KS3. Each workshop is different for each Key Stage and approaches mental health in a positive manner.
All workshops are covid secure and we work with every school to meet their individual requirements. Find out more about the mental health and wellbeing workshops here.