Mental and Emotional Well-Being
According to the Oxford dictionary, well-being is the state of being comfortable, health and happy.
Children need to have their basic needs met, for example, a home, healthy diet, rest and exercise as well as to feel safe and loved, to feel respected and to know that their opinions matter. Education and Health are very closely linked – there is lots of evidence to show that a strong focus on well-being for children gives increased academic achievement.
At Aclet Close Nursery School we know that the children need positive relationships and we foster a sense of belonging with staff that are sensitive and responsive to the children’s needs, feelings and interests. We support the children’s developing independence and set clear boundaries which will help the children to feel safe. If we can increase well-being in the Early Years, it will help children carry resilience and happiness going forward and most importantly give them the tools to be the best they can be and reach their full potential.
What do we do at Nursery School?
- Play, play, play! Play is essential for well-being – it is a time to think for themselves, reflect and use their imagination
- We plan the Nursery environment to ensure there are opportunities for sensory and loose parts play
- Staff observe the children closely; they are often well-placed to notice changes in the children’s behaviours. We work with parents and professionals to support children that are having emotional and developmental problems
- We provide a Communication Friendly environment for the children, we promote a calm and purposeful environment, the children have quiet areas where they can relax and read stories or cuddle a soft toy or play with sensory items that help to calm them. Where possible, we use low level lighting and even take some of the light bulbs out of our strip lights so that it is not so harsh!
- We spend long periods of time outside with access to our natural gardens and open ended resources.
- We have a very strong team ethic – our staff are very experienced and resilient, we invest in them with training and support each other when it is needed. We continue to raise awareness of mental health issues and encourage openness about mental health and mental illness among children, staff and parents. We have a Governor assigned to monitor staff and children’s well-being throughout the school year.
- We aren’t experts on mental health and don’t think we need to be! We simply need to be compassionate and listen. An understanding and awareness of mental health can help support our own well-being as well as the well-being of those we work with.
10 Ideas for supporting children (and adult) mental well-being at home:
- Spend some time outside – we all feel calmer when we experience fresh air, open space and soil in our fingers.
- Take exercise. Running, jumping or kicking a ball releases endorphins in our brains.
- Let your child help with some routine physical tasks such as sweeping or washing the car. Completing a ‘real’ and useful task gives them a sense of accomplishment.
- Older children (and adults) can “colour themselves calm “with colouring sheets or books.
- Escape into a new or favourite story (or film for older children). Snuggle up and enjoy it together
- If they enjoy bath time, water has a calming effect. Consider allowing them an extra bath time, or set them up with some small containers and jugs, with a large bowl of water.
- If you have a pet, letting them become involved in the care of the pet is a great ‘de-stresser’. As is stroking one (if they are friendly!)
- It’s never too soon to encourage kindness and thinking about others. Even small acts of kindness for other family members, such as fetching slippers from upstairs, gives children a sense of being needed and belonging.
- Model a positive attitude; try to see how positives can be taken from all situations, even if it’s just learning from our mistakes.
- Acknowledge and label feelings, even sadness or anger. Show how talking through these helps. As does a hug.