Rebuilding Wellbeing: Supporting primary schools in changing and challenging times
A whole school approach for teaching children the skills they need to survive and thrive in the modern world.
Why do we need it?
When children return to school we should be most concerned about their wellbeing, safety, emotional and mental health.
There might be learning gaps.
But the holes being put into children’s wellbeing are more important.
That was the primary, motivating factor in the creation of Rebuilding Wellbeing.
What is Rebuilding Wellbeing?
It is a whole school approach designed to give children the knowledge and skills they need in order to survive and thrive in the changing, fast-paced, modern world.
11 session outlines for each primary age phase (Early Years, Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2). The knowledge is carefully structured across the age phases to enable progression in how children understand the wellbeing messages.
11 outlines for whole school assemblies all linked to the topics of the classroom sessions.
Each session is linked to one of the eleven themes: Flourishing, Happiness, Relationships, Resilience, Connections, Health, Change, Community, Feelings, Breathing, and Nature.
3 outlines for staff professional development meetings on the topics of: Worrying, The HEART Model, and Taking Massive Action. The ideas, concepts and strategies for these meetings have been fine tuned during the delivery of my flagship INSET Day session ‘Unlocking Wellbeing’.
A whole school approach for helping children understand how their mind works. When children have a strong understanding of how their mind is the operating system within the hardware of their brain, it allows them to be much more open to embedding the key wellbeing messages.
An overview of The SHAPE Approach. A whole school strategy for franchising and spreading wellbeing across a school and the local community. SHAPE stands for Soul, Happiness, Attitude, Physical, and Environment.
An overview of The Stretch Approach. To achieve any kind of circumstantial change, we first need to achieve emotional change. A growth mindset is required for this. The Stretch Approach is a rethought version of growth mindset which has a whole school application.
How are the sessions designed?
Each session has been designed as an approach – not a lesson. This is a deliberate decision because it gives teachers the freedom to shape their sessions to be personal for their children, rather than just following a set of rigid lesson plans.
Every approach has the relevant content knowledge teachers will need to communicate to the children. How it is communicated to the children is in the hands of the teacher because they are the ones who know the children and how they learn best. The knowledge section has been written addressed to the children to make it easier for teachers to be able to communicate specific parts of knowledge.
The next part of each approach includes strategies to help children process their new knowledge, use it for their own means, be able to communicate it to others, and conduct their own investigations and thinking around each theme.
For Key Stage 1 and 2, these strategies have been divided up into: ⭐Grasping, ⭐⭐Embedding, and⭐⭐⭐Deepening. For Early Years the activity section is divided into Extending Understanding and Embedding Activities.
You will know where to pitch the activities for children and you can use these suggestions to form your own approaches, investigations and activities.
10 Benefits this approach will offer your school
1. Develop a whole school approach for growing, developing and embedding wellbeing.
2. Franchise positivity across your community.
3. Set children on a trajectory of good health, happiness and opportunity.
4. Teach your school community how to take personal responsibility for their own wellbeing.
5. Create a compounding and compelling school culture founded on continuous improvement.
6. Enable staff members to be well placed for future challenges.
7. Help children build a stronger identity and belief in themselves.
8. Enable children to understand how their brain works and use this knowledge to their advantage.
9. Allow your school to shape its own unique path on the journey of wellbeing.
10. And most importantly, all the tools you need to rebuild wellbeing across your school.
How do you deliver the approach across your school?
You can choose how you deliver this project in your school. As there are eleven themes, you could deliver one every month of the school term, or you might choose to compress the sessions into a term (or eleven weeks) – it is your choice. My only advice if you choose to compress the timespan is to make sure you revisit the ideas over the rest of the school year.
I have designed the sessions to be delivered over the course of the academic year – and because it is divided up into key stages rather than year groups – it is intended that Years 3 to 6 all cover the same sessions. It will be up to the class teachers to shape their approach to be specific for their children. The careful design of the progression strategies makes this possible.
There are no time constraints for each approach. Teachers can spend as little or as long as they like in exploring and investigating the ideas and concepts within this project. The important part is making sure teachers take ownership and feel empowered to take their Rebuilding Wellbeing project in the direction they believe is the best for their children.
In short, Rebuilding Wellbeing will give the children in your school community all the tools they need to survive and thrive in a changing and challenging world.
About the author
Simon Bolger is That Wellbeing Guy. A former primary school teacher and headteacher who now operates as a teacher, speaker, consultant, coach and writer. He is on a mission to start a wellbeing revolution in our school communities by educating, empowering and energising school staff to live their best life every day, teach great lessons, and create an environment fit for flourishing. He is determined to help schools learn how to transform their school culture from the inside-out.
You can contact Simon by emailing him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Our dreams don’t mean anything unless we do something about them whilst we’re awake.”Simon Bolger, That Wellbeing Guy