It is well known that there’s increasing pressure on schools to perform well and encourage their pupils to succeed. However, it’s only in recent years that the huge correlation between pupil attainment and emotional wellbeing has really been made.
Studies have shown that children who are happy and feel good about themselves are more engaged at school and have a tendency to achieve better results. To this end, many schools are putting increasing emphasis on educating kids about how to achieve a positive mental wellbeing alongside the standard academic curriculum.
Not to mention how happy teachers are vital for our education system!..
Here at PTAsocial, we think it’s great that schools are being pro-active about bringing emotional health to the forefront of their learning strategies. As parents, we want school strategies to be as effective as possible and the best way to do this is to ensure as much continuity between home and school as we can.
“Parents and schools are a 50/50 partnership in educating and bringing up children. If both parties work together then there is consistency for the student and the life skills we are teaching are more likely to be accepted and legitimised”.
The Wellbeing team at The Magna Carta School
So, how can we achieve this consistency between home and school? This is where your PTA can come in. One of the main characteristics of the PTA is that they provide a bond between the school and parents. While this usually happens in the form of fundraising and fun activities, the power of the PTA can also be utilised for the more serious stuff too.
This is because you can incorporate many wellbeing activities into your events, and as parents yourselves, you also have the ability to educate others without it coming across as patronising or too authoritative.
You can find help online geared towards the well-being of young people or parents. For example, My Well-Being is a website for families in Cheshire West and Chester, offering information and online support. They also suggest that kids can speak to their school nurse about their feelings – it’s not just about physical well-being…
There are numerous organisations and charities that support schools nationally across a range of areas, including emotional and mental health. They have a variety of online resources available, training courses and support programmes.
The NHS has published an informative, 2-minute video that describes the 5 steps to GREAT mental wellbeing. Your PTA can work with parents to create opportunities to fulfil each of these steps – here are some examples.
G = Give to others
There are many ways in which you can give to others – in fact, the members of your PTA are doing it right now by giving up their time to help your school! Volunteering in any organisation can help to build confidence and create new social connections.
Alternatively, why not organise for families to get involved in a local community project?
For example, Nourish Community Foodbank in Tunbridge Wells has been set up to make sure no family goes hungry in their area. They always need volunteers and donations – perhaps your PTA can help them or a similar charity in your area? They often also have some great volunteering opportunities for secondary pupils.
Or you could incorporate food bank donations into a whole Wellness Fair event, like Hudson PTA in Ohio, USA.
Come to the PTA Wellness Fair tomorrow from 10-2 at the high school. Bring donation for Akron-Canton Food Bank & get free raffle ticket!— Hudson PTA (@HudsonOhPTA) May 16, 2014
R = Relate to people
Connecting with other people is an excellent way of boosting positive mental health. Each event your PTA holds will help to bring people together and encourage them to develop friendships.
E = Energise
Move, move, move! Physical activity gets your blood and endorphins pumping Hold a danceathon or fun run to help raise money for your school, and get your parents and children feeling positive!
Check out this parent-child Zumba class!
A = Awareness
By holding an event that boosts positive mental health and well-being, you are also raising awareness of the benefits that it can bring adults (both parents and teachers) and children alike. You could explore ways to introduce approaches like Mindfulness for instance.
PTA Grant in Action - staff development training in mindfulness. Thank you to all who support PTA.— Garden City PTA (@GardenCityPTA) March 20, 2017
T = Try something new
Many people love the challenge of trying something new! Inflatable obstacle course? Learning Spanish? Riding a horse? Table-tennis? Art classes after school? There are loads of different activities that you can look into running to support the emotional health of the parents and kids at your school.
The students at Edge Hill University’s forest school have been exploring the Great Outdoors – what a wonderful way to learn about and encourage well-being.
Investing in the emotional health and wellbeing of the adults, children and parents of kids at your school is something that every PTA can do. We hope we have given you some ideas on how to connect the dots between the support offered at school and how you can help parents to maintain consistency at home. Together, you can create a positive stability in your children’s lives that will help them to feel supported, valued and understood, whatever challenges they may face.
It is important for parents to understand exactly what steps are being taken by the school towards pupils’ emotional wellbeing if they are going to support them. You can support this by holding informative workshops or sending out newsletters.
Blakesley Hall Primary held a very successful and well-attended workshop event.
And Draper Mills school helped their Year 6 pupil’s with the transition to secondary school with a “Six Ways to Wellbeing” workshop
Why not consider a buddy system for the kids themselves to support each other?
PTAsocial makes organising events super-easy and inclusive by allowing volunteers to pick out a specific, manageable task. It’s completely free, so just start an account for your school right now in 2 minutes.