As schools begin another academic year, we are taking the opportunity to reflect on a pilot programme we delivered in May and June with 14 schools across England.
We all know that school staff and young people have been particularly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and we wanted to help them as a priority. We invited the schools to participate in the pilot where they would receive virtual training alongside digital and physical resources they could use within a school setting to help colleagues and children with their mental health and wellbeing.
We were thrilled to be able to welcome headteachers, school business managers, governors, support staff and teaching staff to several virtual half day champions courses. We all came together (via zoom!) and got everyone talking positively about their minds. The foundation course covers the background to the Mindapples training and the methodology and evidence behind what we do and provides a safe environment for attendees to share ideas whilst learning basic wellbeing and mental health self-management techniques.
We had overwhelming positive feedback from the attendees, Rajia Ahmed who is Deputy Head at Whitchurch Primary School told us:
“I loved all the visuals and the handouts/resources, can’t wait to use them at school! So excited to launch this to staff and pupils next term” and when asked what she would do differently herself she said she would “really think about my own mindapples and make time for them”.
Although the course had to be delivered virtually we were thrilled to hear Sarah Strickett who works as a teacher at St Ninians High School on the Isle of Man say “I absolutely loved that this training was available as a live video. Living where I do, I would never have been able to access this otherwise or especially to share ideas with such a wide variety of different schools over the country.”
We also created a series of assemblies and classroom activities for our pilot schools to share and were delighted to hear several of our pilot schools have created new mental health and wellbeing boards as a result of being on the course. Clare Howe a teacher at Brington Primary School in Cambridgeshire told us about their new board which we think looks fantastic!
“The work was produced after looking at the assembly materials and the whole school took part. Reception and year 1 pupils painting on large apple templates and all other pupils drawing or writing their mindapples”. It really is wonderful seeing our new schools toolkit in action.
Since 2008 we have been asking people about their Mindapples – 5 things you do regularly to look after their mind and we know it works with all ages. We really loved seeing what the year 2 children at Heber Primary School in Southwark do to look after their minds.
During the course it was interesting to hear some attendees struggling to think what they do to look after their own minds. Jayna Purowhit from Whitchurch Primary told us “on a personal level, I know to make sure that I have my 5 mindapples a day (well as close to 5 as possible, which is more than before)” which is great news. Whitchurch Primary are also looking at ways to implement Mindapples for the whole school community (staff, children and their families) and we can’t wait to see the results here in the orchard.
If you would like to introduce Mindapples to your school please email Michele Worden on firstname.lastname@example.org.