Earlier this year, the Bursledon parish team were invited into Bursledon Infant and Junior Schools to help mark their own designated Mental Health Week. “Our mission”, said Revd John Pawson, “was to share with every child in each of the 21 classes how our Christian faith can inform, inspire and support our mental health.”
Using a simple Christian Spirituality framework, we explored our uniqueness and worth as individuals, created by God; our inter-dependence with other people; our relationship with the whole of creation and our part and place in God’s great purposes. Each class then created their own unique jigsaw puzzle – individual pieces decorated by each child and fitting together in a glorious celebration of collective creativity.
“After that we explored the school grounds and Spiritual Garden,” explained John, “simply noticing the warmth of the sun, the roughness of tree bark adorned in lichen, the daffodils preparing to explode, intricate patterns in the ice and frost, vibrant birdsong, scuttling insects and the eternal attraction of playing in the mud! And we took time to slow our breathing, our brains and our busyness, finding a place of calm and quietness to reflect and relax in God’s presence.”
Across the week, pupils and staff were encouraged again to develop healthy practices in breathing, eating and drinking, sleeping, use of electronic devices and screens, being active, enjoying the outdoors and socialising with friends and family. Some of the other activities included:
‘What is mental health and why does it matter?’ workshop
Walking a mile a day
Drama and self confidence workshop
Mindful moments session – compassionate colouring, ‘take your pencil for a walk’
Online wellbeing workshop
The last few years have been an incredibly stressful time for families, school children and school staff. Following the upheaval of Covid, schools have had the added pressure of trying to help children ‘catch-up’ on the learning they have missed. Recognising these pressures, here in the Bursledon Federation, our Senior Leadership Team and Governors are working hard to ensure that Mental Health and Wellbeing, become and remain a priority for the whole school community.
Under the leadership of our new Executive Head Teacher, Mrs Kerry Stamp, all the staff have worked incredibly hard to establish a positive and caring community, in which every member is encouraged and supported to be and to achieve their very best. Our school values of Love, Respect and Aspire, run through all our policies and practices, and we strongly believe that good mental health and a positive sense of personal wellbeing are both God’s desire for everyone, and beneficial for every individual.
Revd John Pawson, Vicar of Bursledon and Foundation Governor
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