USING OUTDOOR LEARNING TO DELIVER 'HEALTHY MIND, HAPPY ME'
Posted on 9th July 2020 at 12:55
Back in the spring, it became obvious pretty quickly that we wouldn't be able to work directly with schools and children for some time. In April and May, it was clear that the best way that we could support school staff might be by suggesting some activities they could try outdoors.
As a service, we started to compile ideas and share them online, but a growing concern was of the impact that Covid-19, and isolation, might be having on the well-being and mental health of children. At this point, I decided that linking some outdoor learning tasks with 2 modules of the ‘Healthy Mind, Happy Me Curriculum’ for school staff to have a go at in school might be useful.
What is 'Healthy Mind, Happy Me'?
‘Healthy Mind, Happy Me’ is a mental health and well-being curriculum that forms the focus for learning around children’s personal, social and emotional development in the majority of Sandwell Primary Schools. It is a key part of the Sandwell Well-Being Charter Mark; an initiative to promote wellbeing within all aspects of the school community.
What we've done
Having achieved the Well-Being Charter Mark at Edgmond Hall, one of our ongoing actions was to make clearer links between the learning activities that we provide, and the learning aims within the ‘Healthy Mind, Happy Me’ curriculum. As Outdoor Educators, we are lucky enough to regularly share the impact that learning adventures and experiences can have on individuals and groups; personal development, growth and promoting positive mental well-being are woven through the sessions that we deliver.
We do this daily in our work, and it is clear to us that we directly support the learning in ‘Healthy Mind, Happy Me’. However, we needed to be a bit more explicit about this so that colleagues in Sandwell Schools could more closely link a residential or day visit experience with other school priorities.
"Resilience and Coping" and "Friendships" seemed the two most important and appropriate modules to start with. The activities suggested are light on resources and manageable, around social distancing rules.
It would be great if people tried them out, and any feedback would be very welcome.
Our next step is to look at the other 4 themes and see whether there is anything valuable that we could share as a service - whether that's using the outdoors as a vehicle, or the creative arts. We'll continue to explore ways to link what we do with school prioirities, so watch this space!
With best wishes,
Sue Ray is Edgmond Hall's Senior Tutor and programme lead. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 01952 810799
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