Emotional and Mental Health

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JLECT sessions aim to add understanding and insight into what lies beneath the outward manifestation of the emotional state. In addition and very importantly, they also suggest practical strategies to support both staff and children to cope better, manage and move forward; in turn, this enables happier and more effective learners/teachers/pastoral workers.

All our sessions employ an interactive workshop-style and can be bespoke to fit the time available – twilight, half-day, whole-day or an ongoing series.  We also offer presentations for conferences and seminars.

 Sessions at a glance

 1. Emotionally literate children

How lovely it would be if children could understand and manage their emotions.

How much more teaching time would be available? How much happier would classrooms and playgrounds feel? How much more learning would be possible?

These sessions explain the steps to emotional literacy, the benefits of being emotionally literate, including its impact on increasing learning capacity, and offers practical ways to build this in the classroom, through PSHE and relationships in the school community.

We can also explore a straightforward emotional literacy screening tool if this would be helpful.

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 2. Attachment: the essence of it all!

We all work from an internal working framework, whether conscious of this or not.

Research, particularly in the field of neuro-science, tells us that this framework is largely formed through the quality of the attachment relationships we are blessed with, or not, in our early years. We so often see children whose learning and happiness are hampered by their poor or non-existent early attachments.

These sessions explore attachment theory and relate it to real children in their real school days. Most importantly, these sessions also suggest what schools can do to work with children manifesting poor attachments. How far is it possible to compensate for their early experiences? What do we actually DO to support these children?

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 3. Managing emotions with practical mindfulness

Mindfulness is the ability to be aware of your thoughts and feelings as they are happening, in the present moment, with no judgement.

We are seeing very positive impact on learning, behaviour, relationships, etc., when children are taught very simple mindfulness techniques. These techniques not only support children in school, but equip them with stress management and emotional resilience strategies for their future lives.

These sessions explain what mindfulness is and how it relates to children, staff and schools. Most importantly, it provides structured ways to develop these mindfulness skills with children, giving materials to take back and use in the classroom.

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 4. Building self-esteem and emotional resilience

How much do you value yourself? To what extent do you really believe you deserve good friends, a happy, healthy life, and reward in your job? To what extent do children and young people feel they are worthy human beings, capable learners, lovable sons or daughters? These are the (usually subconscious) starting points or lenses through which we see ourselves and our lives and which motivate our decisions.

These sessions explore underlying theory about where such beliefs and levels of self-esteem originate, and explain how these starting points can be changed to improve self-esteem. We consider the role of the teacher/adult and especially look at how to empower children and young people to do this for themselves, as this must be the ultimate goal if they are to build and sustain their own resilience. The BASICS† model of self-esteem building is offered as an ongoing whole-school approach as well as a personalised plan.

 †BASICS ©2015 Jan Lever®

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 5. Positive behaviour management

People understand that behaviour is the outward manifestation of thoughts and feelings happening inside. Most people in schools understand about separating the child from the behaviour, but many school staff spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy dealing with the behaviour issues generated by a few children.

These sessions can cover any or all of the following:

  • auditing the school’s behaviour policy
  • reviewing the rights, responsibilities, rewards and consequences (The School Learning Charter) with the whole school community to ensure clarity, ownership and relevance to all year groups
  • understanding what behaviour is and what lies beneath specific behaviours
  • offering positive management strategies for the whole class as well as for individuals with specific difficult-to-handle behaviours.

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 6. Supporting children to manage their angry feelings and outbursts

Anger is usually motivated by feer, anxiety and loss. There seem to be more angry children year by year and it can be very difficult to know how to manage this, how to support children/young people to manage this for themselves, and how to maintain enough patience and energy to do this consistently.

These sessions offer insight into the causes of angry behaviour, an understanding of different strategies to use at different points in the escalation/de-escalation cycle and the opportunity to rehearse what to say and do in certain situations. We always aim to make these sessions of practical help when back in the classroom.

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 7. Supporting children to manage their anxiety and panic attacks

Anxiety is one of the top three diagnosed mental health problems facing children in the UK (the other two are stress and depression). With more than 850,000 children with a diagnosed mental illness in the UK, it is probably not surprising that schools are reporting more and more children whose learning is hindered by anxiety and panic attacks.

These sessions, therefore, support staff to improve their understanding of what goes on internally to create anxiety, triggered by a multitude of causes, and of why this condition affects some children more than others. Most importantly, we offer ways to work with children to prevent anxiety, to manage it when it arises and ultimately to be free from it.

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 8. Stress management for children and young people

Stress is one of the top three diagnosed mental health problems facing children in the UK (the other two are anxiety and depression).

Those of us working in schools probably all have our own theories about why this might be, and often experience frustration in our influence over it, the extent of the school’s remit, the role of an ever-pressurised curriculum, and so on.

In these sessions we unpack what causes stress and how (i.e. real strategies) this can be alleviated by adults helping children, by children helping each other and by children helping themselves.

We also consider the emotional/stress state of the classroom and the adults therein and gently look at ways for the adults to de-stress themselves for their own and children’s benefit.

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 9. De-escalating conflict situations

If only children and young people could sort out their own conflicts. How much easier would lunchtimes be, how much heartache would be prevented, and how much teaching time would be preserved?

These sessions provide an increased understanding of how, when and where conflict arises and escalates; the adults’ role in this as well as the child’s; and, from that starting point, suggestions of how to de-escalate conflict.

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 10. Stress management for adults

Whilst most of us thrive on some level of stress, all of us have our own tipping point at which work or life becomes less enjoyable if too much stress is present; we might even go under, run away, have time off sick or leave the profession. Understanding your own stressors can sometimes not be enough to alleviate stress in an ever-pressurised school life; and hanging in there until the next holiday may not be conducive to working at your best and enjoying every day.

These sessions, therefore, offer practical ways to manage stress; from solutions-focused strategies, time management tips, relaxation and mindfulness techniques, and realistic health-promoting suggestions.

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 11. Counselling skills for school staff

Whilst it is important to understand the boundaries of our school remit and roles we fulfil, and not to overstep these into the realms of the therapist, professional counsellor or CAMHS practitioner, being equipped with well-honed counselling skills can inspire confidence in school staff and be very beneficial for both children (and colleagues) on the receiving end.

These sessions enable you to rehearse a range of counselling skills (some of which you may already do as an emotionally-literate adult) and to consider when it might be beneficial to use them.

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 12. Coping with change for adults

The only thing we know about the future is that it will be different.

Peter F. Drucker

The education world is ever-changing and, for many, this can be a source of frustration, concern and stress. Change is all around us; in our working practice, work environment and, therefore, in our home lives.

Understanding our reactions to change and how to manage them better can alleviate stress and worry, leaving us free to concentrate on what we would like instead.

These sessions explore the impact of change on all areas of our lives, including our well-being and health; how each of us has different reactions to change; and how we can feel more skilled in coping with change and all it brings.

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 13. Solutions-focused approaches to improving emotional/mental health

The solutions-focused approach is very practical and positive. Its premise is that there is a solution to the issue or problem and that following the straightforward steps of this approach can make it easier to find. It helps the person to find their own solution, to take ownership of it and to monitor and measure progress.

This is a valuable tool to have, professionally and personally, and a valuable instrument in the toolkit of anyone working with children and young people.

These sessions take you through the steps and give real examples of how to use it successfully in school, in your own life and with children.

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 14. Mental Health In Focus series

This series of sessions was developed in response to schools’ requests to better understand some of the issues facing their children, young people or their families (indirectly affecting the children). They have been delivered successfully to groups of school staff, groups of parents and carers, and to combined groups of parents, school and agency staff, all of whom work with the same community of children.

The aims of the workshops are two-fold:

  1. Raise awareness of the issue itself and its underlying causes and psychology
  2. Offer suggestions of how to support children and young people being affected by them

We will always consider how school life, relationships and PSHE can help prevent children’s involvement with/attraction to, some of these conditions:

  • Eating disorders, body image and relationship with food
  • Self-harm
  • Drug and alcohol misuse in families
  • Domestic violence and abuse

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 15. Treasure chests of success

In a target-driven education system, how often do we move children too swiftly through their successes and onwards and upwards to the next ‘tick-able’ target? How often do we review the motivational power and relevance of our reward systems and ask children how meaningful they are to them?

Storing success experiences in the mind can not only build confidence and self-esteem for the learner, but can also equip children to draw on these stored successes as they tackle more difficult challenges.

These sessions take you through the whole process of making an actual treasure chest and physically placing success tokens in it, to being able to visualise this and thereby be able to draw on your own success experiences whenever it would be helpful to do so. This can then be transferred to children.

We will suggest ways to use these techniques with children to bring them confidence and more learning success.

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 16. Preventing and addressing bullying behaviours

Whilst most schools are good at on-going anti-bullying work we can never be complacent and need to be constantly aware of how developments in technology add new issues and risks to children’s well-being and safety.

All our work in this area raises awareness of the underlying motivations of those on the giving and receiving ends of these behaviours, as well as suggesting preventative measures, including positive relationship-building and celebrating difference work.

Sessions can cover:

  • whole school bullying audits
  • curriculum coverage through PSHE in every year group
  • fresh ideas for National Anti-Bullying Week
  • policy writing
  • cyber/internet safety
  • homophobic and LGBT issues

In addition, a bespoke approach is taken to help address particular issues your school might face.

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 17. Emotional well-being through physical health

“Healthy body, healthy mind” is a well known phrase, but how often do we remind ourselves of it at the least, and at best, take action? Many school staff members feel drained and overwhelmed, and rarely take proper breaks during the day and when not in school. This is a timely reminder, based on the idea that if staff members are not feeling at their best, they are unable to give their best – consistently, genuinely and for the good of the whole school community.

These sessions reawaken an understanding of how vital it is to look after ourselves physically, mentally and emotionally; and by taking a practical approach, sharing tips, techniques and ideas, a bespoke and achievable solution can be found for everyone involved.

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 18. ‘Balance’ – the well-being support package for school staff

Research shows that school staff members perceive their well-being to be determined primarily by work, and consequently, influenced by the workplace interventions. The term ‘well-being’ embraces a wide number of dimensions that can include professional development, organisational, managerial, social and physical workplace considerations, as well as elements such as people’s physical, mental and psychological health. ‘Balance’ is the bespoke, cost-effective package of specialised staff well-being solutions that highlights the need for every establishment to focus on its staff. Using a range of different methods, your staff group will be able to identify what is working well and what they might like instead.

The ‘Balance’ package comprises:

  • one-to-one action planning support
  • series of bespoke training sessions
  • suite of products and resources

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 19. Emotional Literacy through whole-school PSHE (Jigsaw)

Jigsaw LogoJigsaw PSHE: the mindful approach to PSHE

We believe all children are entitled to well-planned, well-structured support to develop their emotional literacy, and that this needs to be taught. To enable this, we have developed a whole-school approach to PSHE, a scheme of work from F1 to Year 6 that builds emotional literacy in a developmental and progressive way.

For more information visit www.jigsawpshe.com

We are very happy to talk to you about the possibility of bringing Jigsaw to your school.

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 20. SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) development opportunities

The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils is not easy to define or pin down, especially when mapping across the school or trying to monitor for all children and young people. Ofsted offers its description with objectives for each of these areas, but SMSC can be tricky to define. It is, however, essential to creating a positive school ethos, to pupils’ academic progress and, of course, to Ofsted’s judgement on your school.

Since the Education Reform Act of 1998, all state-funded schools have had a statutory duty to provide a broad and balanced curriculum and promote the SMSC of pupils. Our training helps to clarify what this is, how it can be monitored across, within and outside of the curriculum, and how schools can ensure a good and outstanding provision, not just because it is both required and expected, but because it helps teachers teach and supports pupils’ learning.

Our sessions can focus on all or just specific elements of SMSC and can consider the significant contribution of RE and PSHE if that is helpful.

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 21. Building Confidence and Assertiveness Skills

“I have the right to be treated with respect as an intelligent, capable and equal human being. I have the right to ask for what I want.”

This course is invaluable for anyone who would like a reminder about their rights, about the differences between assertive, aggressive and passive behaviour, and about how to say ‘no’ effectively and appropriately. It also demonstrates how to deal with other people whose behaviour is aggressive or passive and how to get the best out of situations – to achieve a ‘win-win’ for everyone.

Strategies for building real confidence and effective non-verbal communication form a vital role in this practical and thought-provoking session.

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