Pupils bear in mind their mental health

Pupils bear in mind their mental health


Owen Evans

The practice of mindfulness is being embraced in a school aiming to encourage positive mental health.

Children at Ysgol Y Foel in Cilcain have been benefiting from mindfulness sessions from clinical psychologist
Dr Katy Roe, who is also a parent governor at the school.

Headteacher Emma O’Neil said the sessions had generated a positive response from the youngsters.

She said: “The programme is in response to the increase in children’s mental health issues over the last few years.

“With children’s lives being so busy with after school activities, homework, social pressures and the use of technology, children do not get the opportunity to just ‘pause and be’.

“This programme teaches them to recognise the different parts of the brain and its functions, how their minds can wander, why they may feel upset and how their body reacts to these situations.

“They are then given exercises which focus on breathing to bring their minds back into the present, to calm their feelings and to quell any anxiety they may be feeling.”

Mrs O’Neil said Dr Roe attends every Friday afternoon to work with children from reception to Year 6.

She added: “In the classroom we have adopted the language used in the sessions such as ‘puppy brain’ to bring children back to a task, and ‘having a wobble’ if a child is worried about something.

“We have been using our breathing after each playtime and lunchtime to help the children forget any negative things that have happened during the break and to focus their attention to the present.

“As a result the children are much calmer and are able to start tasks much more promptly.

“They are able to recognise if something has made their attention wander and are developing the skills to focus on the task again.

“Feedback has been very promising from both staff and children so far.”

Dr Roe is also holding mindfulness sessions for parents and other adults at the school on Wednesday evenings between 6pm and 7pm.



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