Questions arising from the mental health Workshop for parents, Monday 9th July 2018
Are the children encouraged to practise mindfulness during the school day?
Sometimes. The class teacher will timetable mindful activities according to the needs of the children in his/her class. There may be more activities while the children are settling in during the autumn term. All teachers timetable mental health activities during healthy week.
What is the difference between an Individual Support Plan (ISP) and an Individual Provision Plan (IPP)?
All children on an ISP are on the school’s Special educational Needs register, and most of them have targets to work towards, e.g. to learn to spell high frequency words, or to use kind hands in the playground. Some children, including some children on the autistic spectrum, do not need academic targets but they do need classroom provision to manage their anxieties. These children have an IPP which details the support needed, e.g. calm down time reading or colouring in at the end of the lesson or end of the day. The IPP is particularly useful if the children have a supply teacher for the day, and for transition up to the next year group.
What age is “Sitting like a frog” appropriate for?
This can be used for children from Foundation up to year 6 and above!
At what stage do you tell parents if you’re using specific strategies in the classroom?
Strategies to support an individual child in the classroom may used after a discussion with parents, or tried in class and discussed with parents at the next parents’ meeting. Teachers will always ask parents to come in for a chat if they are concerned about an aspect of a child’s mental health.
How do you prepare the children for tests?
For most children, assessments are a regular and uneventful part of school life. Some children however can become anxious and school can adapt the test to make it less worrying e.g. by sitting the child in a smaller group, or by allocating an adult to help focus. If your child is worried about any aspects of school assessments, please talk to his/her class teacher.
Do parents see the Thrive assessment before and after?
Yes, if they would like to.
What strategies would you recommend for managing the “non-anxious” child?
With a non- anxious child, you can make a photo social story showing appropriate responses e.g. what to do when meeting someone new. You can also role play or model how to act in a situation. Further advice can be given if you talk to your child’s class teacher with Mrs Whish or Mrs Lewis, who may recommend a Thrive assessment.
With the agenda box, how would younger classes use this if they are not confident writers?
In Foundation, the children are encouraged to discuss and role play situations as part of their early learning. Usually children from Year 1 are able to write a note for the box, however just a name is enough to let staff know there is an issue. Staff are always happy to listen instead if a child is unable to write, or very upset.
How do teachers respond to the agenda box slips?
The class teacher will decide on the most appropriate way of responding to agenda slips. This can involve whole class discussion, group discussion, or working with an individual child and his/her parents.
The mindfulness cards used during the workshop and healthy week are called “Mindful kids: 50 mindfulness activities for kindness, focus and calm” by Whitney Stewart and Mina Braun.
If you are concerned about your child’s levels of anxiety, please make an appointment to see your child’s class teacher in the first instance.