Froebelian will be a happy, healthy and kind school where we nurture all members of the school community and enable them to access and utilise tools to support individual and collective wellbeing at Froebelian.
The Froebelian Happiness Project was launched in March 2019 to set out how we are going to address the issue and ensure all members of the school community feel happy, safe and valued.
The project has been a mammoth undertaking spearheaded by Mrs Stratford who has inspired the staff to work together over the last few months to pull together the various activities for the children and staff next week. The FPTA are also involved and we hope that you will be able to support their part in the venture and help raise funds for our Happiness Hut.
At Froebelian, we believe that the emotional health and wellbeing of children is just as important as their physical health and wellbeing. Over the past few years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to make dramatic improvements to mental health services for children and young people and we are keen to look at improvements that we can make here at our school; hence The Happiness Project!
You do not have to look very far to stumble upon concerning statistics with regard to children and mental health: about 695,000children aged 5 to 16 years in England have a clinically significant mental health illness (The Good Childhood Report, 2018); and every year, one young person in ten experiences a mental health problem (Centre for Mental Health, 2018). Many reports conclude that family relationships make the biggest difference to children’s well-being and I hope that you will agree that one of the main strengths of our school is that we see ourselves as a family. The success of the relationships between all children and adults who collaborate in our school is key to all we do.
The common thread running through many reports on children’s mental heath is that children’s interactions with those around them – and the way in which children make sense of those interactions – are fundamentally important to how they feel about themselves and their lives. If children feel supported by the people around them, they will hopefully retain a positive view of themselves and cope with the challenges of growing up.
Children and young people’s mental health has never been so high on the public agenda and rightly so. At any one time, a child or young person may be anywhere on a spectrum between being healthy and unwell. Many children move back and foth along the spectrum at different times:
With all this in mind, we feel strongly as a school that it is vital that we work in partnership with you on this critical area of our children’s development and equally each and every adult who in involved in Froebelian.
On the back of the initial launch, our commitment to happiness and wellbeing for the whole Froebelian Family continues throughout each week with designated appointed Mental Health First Aiders, Wellbeing Wednesdays, The completion of the Happiness Hut and of course the introduction of our school dog, Molly.
Molly was born on Sunday 16 October in York. The apricot coloured Cockapoo will live with Mrs Stratford and her family when she’s not in school. Cockapoos are a breed of dog known for their loving and loyal nature which gives them the right temperament to be a School dog. The puppy will be coming into School for short sessions initially and Mrs Stratford will be her handler whilst she is in School. She will be training her to become a School dog so she will, in time, become an integral part of our School family.
Introducing Molly – take a look at how she’s settling in so far
What are the benefits of a School dog?
Evidence indicates that the well-being benefits of having a School dog include:
- Cognitive – companionship with a dog stimulates memory, problem-solving and game-playing
- Social – a dog provides a positive mutual topic for discussion, encourages responsibility, well-being and focused interaction with others
- Emotional – a School dog improves self-esteem, acceptance from others and lifts mood, often provoking laughter and fun. Dogs can also teach compassion and respect for other living things as well as relieving anxiety.
- Physical – interaction with a furry friend reduces blood pressure, provides tactile stimulation, assists with pain management, gives motivation to move, walk and stimulates the senses
- Environmental – a dog in a School increases the sense of a family environment, with all of the above benefits continuing long after the School day is over.
- Reading – reading to dogs has been proven to help children develop literacy skills and build confidence, through both the calming effect the dog’s presence has on children as well as the fact that a dog will listen to children read without being judgemental or critical. This comforting environment helps to nurture children’s enthusiasm for reading and provides them with the confidence to read aloud.
The School website, the Seesaw App and our School ‘s various social media streams will publish pictures of the School dog as she grows up so that everyone can enjoy her development. We understand that it is not possible for all families to have a family dog and therefore we hope that this is an opportunity for children to have a share in a dog and gain from a relationship and contact with it on a regular basis.
We hope the children will gain a great deal of enjoyment from having their School dog and that she becomes an established part of life at Froebelian. Mrs Stratford will be sharing updates on Seesaw on Well-being Wednesdays so that the children can find out a little bit more about the puppy including the first 8 weeks of her life and beyond and ask any questions they may have. In the coming weeks, the children will be invited to suggest names for the School dog (but the Stratford family reserve the right to choose a name if the suggestions don’t suit the dog).
We have written a policy which will be available to view on the School website in due course and we have undertaken a comprehensive risk assessment with input from our Health & Safety consultants. A letter to seek your permission regarding your child’s contact with the School dog will be sent home next week. In the meantime, please see the School Dog FAQs here.
We hope you will join us in welcoming this new addition to the Froebelian family and embrace all that she has to offer the School. Should you have any queries or questions on the matter then please do not hesitate to contact Mrs Stratford (firstname.lastname@example.org).