11 February 2022
St Mary’s School in Cambridge has hosted an abundance of wellbeing activities across the school this week to mark Children’s Mental Health Week (7 – 13 February). Shining a spotlight on the importance of young people’s mental health, the school has delivered a programme of extra-curricular activities based on the theme of Growing Together – giving its students the chance to explore their emotional and physical development as well as their intellectual progression.
Heightening its already strong focus on supporting the wellbeing of its students, St Mary’s devised a targeted programme of activities. Students in years 7-13 were given access to a full programme of activities, workshops and talks, which were all focused on practising and exploring different techniques to support mental health. Calming activities on offer for students to try included clay workshops, crafts, Lego activities, Zumba classes, self-defence classes, journaling, colouring, creative writing workshops and puzzle activities. Students also had the opportunity to leave their classrooms behind to visit the local Botanical Gardens for a refreshing walk.
Our Junior School also participated in a range of wellbeing activities designed to offer a balance of different approaches – spanning the creative, fun, informative and active. Activities on offer included yoga, breathing technique classes, mindfulness colouring and observing nature. In addition, advice and support sessions were available to all students throughout the week, as well as a pre-recorded daily five minutes of mindfulness, hosted by local yoga teacher Carolina George. At lunchtimes, Sarah Birch, owner of Mindkindness, also led online mindfulness sessions and children were treated to their favourite meals for lunch. Students even enjoyed some animal therapy sessions, with some members of staff bringing their pets in for a visit.
Charlotte Avery, Head at St Mary’s School, Cambridge, said:
“Mental health and the wellbeing of our students has always been a main priority here at St Mary’s and we pride ourselves on our outstanding pastoral care. Children’s Mental Health Week is a great opportunity to really push this to the front of our work and we are thoroughly enjoying immersing ourselves in a range of mindfulness activities. Our daily programme of interactive sessions has been immensely enjoyed by our students and provided some well-earnt relaxation and reflection time.”
Throughout the year, students at St Mary’s School have access to a fully-trained school counsellor, who offers confidential advice, and a Lay Chaplain, who offers a listening ear and wise counsel when needed. The school also has an independent listener, who is there for students should they wish to talk to an adult independent of the school.
Children’s Mental Health Week, now in its eighth year, is organised by Place2Be – a children’s mental health charity that provides counselling, mental health support and training in UK schools. The theme for Children’s Mental Health Week 2022 is ‘Growing Together’.