Mrs Margaret Giblin, Deputy Head People
Long before the Covid-19 pandemic reached us, wellbeing was a buzzword in education. But at Woldingham wellbeing isn’t just something we just give lip service to, it’s something at the heart of our whole community and how we care for each other.
Now more than ever, the idea of maintaining our wellbeing in these uncharted times must not be underestimated. By their nature schools are social institutions. Even in our current remote ways of learning our interaction with each other is huge – but it’s different than before.
Mr Bohanna has written about the wonderful ways in which staff have embraced remote teaching and learning, showing great innovation and creativity. This is equally apparent in the pastoral support and in promoting positive mental health and wellbeing. The drive to remain connected has continued. We have break time drop ins, tutor time sessions, clubs and societies running where our community comes together to share ideas, keep fit together, be mindful or be creative.
We have had great feedback from students about the wellness/exercise lesson built into the school day. I would really encourage parents to check your daughter is taking her time away from the screen. The daily PE challenges are a good focal point for students unsure what to try next.
We have tailored our THRIVE sessions to include topics such as the importance of routines, healthy sleeping habits, emotional support in times of difficulty and the power of kindness. This week is Mental Health Awareness week and the chosen theme this year is kindness. I have set students the challenge to really reflect on where they can demonstrate kindness this week (and beyond).
Kindness was chosen because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. In this most challenging of times, we see kindness all around, from neighbours shopping for vulnerable members of their community to the inspirational Captain Tom Moore walking 100 laps to support the NHS. Kindness can be the antidote to isolation as it brings people together, forcing us to look outwards and towards each other. It is an act that benefits both the recipient and the giver. Hopefully some parents have been on the receiving end of this challenge!
At this time I feel myself fortunate to be marooned on the Woldingham island with a community that cares for each other. We are offering staff and students advice on wellbeing through our Teams channel focusing on wellbeing. Lots of tips and advice can be found on the resources linked here: Young Minds, GOV.UK, Mental Health Foundation.
Please remember we are here to support our students and offer advice. Any suggestions parents have are very welcome. In the midst of this focus on kindness, we are reminded to be kind to ourselves - something we all need to do.
Saint Madeleine Sophie Barat who founded the Sacred Heart Order said ‘Be humble, be simple and bring joy to others.’ How better to do this than to be kind to one another?