Support for Emotional and Mental Health
At Blue Coat we take a whole school approach to supporting everyone’s mental health and wellbeing.
Within our PSHE curriculum, we focus on developing the understanding that we all have good and bad days and good and bad periods in our life. This is normal and even when we feel despairing we can remind ourselves that it will get better. We encourage the children to develop empathy and understanding for others and to be a good friend when someone is unhappy. This is a core skill towards being Future Ready; we will interact with others all our lives and the better we understand them and our own responses, the more positive those interactions and relationships will be.
In addition, our commitment to Opal Play ensures the children can express themselves and explore their limits, building strong team skills and developing personal understanding of their own strengths and limitations.
There are times when an individual may need additional support, whether with anxiety, friendships or dealing with difficult emotions and we have several options available in school for this. We may offer set times with a key adult for the child to talk about what is troubling them or to touch base to see how things are going. There is also the option of running a group intervention around a particular topic, such as friendship. For those who need individual support we have an ELSA and a trainee play therapist working in school. They are able to offer a set number of sessions to identified individuals to help them work through this difficult time.
ELSA: Emotional Literacy Support Assistant
An ELSA will work with the child, parents and class teacher to identify specific targets to be worked towards. They will then meet with the child weekly for the agreed number of sessions to work towards these targets. The sessions involve play and conversation, with toys, art materials and other items available for the child to use to express themselves and find ways to manage their feelings. The targets will then be reviewed at the end and suggestions made as to how to support the child moving forward.
The Play Therapist with meet with parents and the class teacher to identify what the difficulties are and to set targets. They will then meet with the child weekly for the agreed number of sessions to work on the targets. The number of sessions, usually 15, ensures that a safe and secure relationship can be built between the therapist and the child. The space becomes a safe place for the child to explore and play out their feelings, thoughts and experiences that they may not be able to verbalise fully. During the course of sessions, the therapist will review the child’s progress and may sometimes suggest that the sessions continue in order for the child to work things through.
As a school, we are very fortunate to have these one to one options as it is not something that is available in all schools. We believe that the children’s emotional development is as important as their academic progress and that the two work side by side in ensuring that our children are Future Ready.