How does Circles for Learning fit with whole school objectives for mental health and wellbeing?

It is widely recognised that a child’s emotional health and wellbeing influences their cognitive development and learning as well as their physical and social health and their mental wellbeing in adulthood.
Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing 2015 Classroom

Circles for Learning trains teachers to support children develop emotional literacy, resilience, social skills and understand self development. It increases knowledge and understanding and supports staff create a culture for wellbeing within their classrooms.

The physical, social and emotional environment in which staff and students spend a high proportion of every week day has been shown to affect their physical, emotional and mental health and wellbeing as well as impacting on attainment.
Promoting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing 2015.

The culture, ethos and environment of a school influence the health and wellbeing of pupils and their readiness to learn.
The Link Between pupil health and wellbeing and attainment 2014.

The training to be a Circles for Learning Teacher includes developing the knowledge and understanding of foundations for Mental Health and Wellbeing and how to weave the 5 different strands together to create a classroom environment that is supportive to developing a strong classroom culture that supports and develops mental health and wellbeing.

Schools need to promote personal development, behaviour and welfare. It is important that children manage their own feelings and behaviour and how they relate to others.
Better Inspection for All. 2015

Circles for Learning enables young people to observe the behaviour of a mother/father and child and involves them in discussing and thinking about what they have seen and how both Mum/Dad and baby might feel. It enables the young people to watch how a child seeks out and is soothed by their parent before they learn to self sooth. These observations and discussions naturally link to conversations about themselves. Strategies to sooth can be shared and talked about. The ability to think and understand others can be developed and through discussions emotional literacy is extended. Managing anxiety and stress are other areas that the Teacher and the children will explore.

Schools need to support young people to develop self confidence, self assurance and knowledge in their potential to be a successful learner.
Better Inspection for All. 2015.

Watching learning unfold as a child tries to get the correct shape into a shape sorter or fit a lid on a box is a powerful stimulant for discussion about what learning is and how it develops. This opens up a range of areas for discussion and work around self esteem and the importance of a growth mind set.

Schools need to develop whole school approaches to promoting resilience and improving emotional wellbeing.
Future in Mind. Government Paper 2012

Within the Circles for Learning Project young people will watch their class baby learn to crawl or walk for the first time and will be aware of the effort, failures and motivation that occur before success. These rich observations act to facilitate young people to develop an understanding of perseverance, allowing discussion and exploration of how this develops. This knowledge then supports self reflection and self development within the group. The importance of early years in child development provides the focus for discussion about emotional wellbeing and how we use strategies we may have learnt from our parents as well as new ones that other members of the group utilise. The Teacher can support discussion and facilitate a range of activities to promote the development of a range of positive psychological skills using the resource materials.


At the heart of health and wellbeing for young people is their relationship with others.
Future in Mind. Government Paper 2012.

Watching the interaction between a mother/father and child is a very powerful experience and demonstrates the importance of social interactions and communication. Circles for Learning facilitates this and enables the young people to be supported in developing their ideas and thinking by a well trained Teacher. They are able to observe, think about and discuss the skills that make successful relationships and then both watch and discuss the emotions that occur when the relationships becomes ruptured. With the support of a skilled teacher they can then identify the skills needed to repair the relationship. All of these skills are important in managing friendships and other relationships both at the time and in the future.

Children with higher levels of emotional, behavioural, social and school wellbeing on average have higher levels of academic achievement and are more engaged in school.
The impact of Pupil Wellbeing on Educational Outcomes. Department of Education 2012

Circles for Learning incorporates both the development of skills for Learning, and emotional growth. It supports the belief that one cannot be achieved without the other and that both are intertwined. It supports young people understand the link between learning and state of mind, and supports them develop positive strategies to address a range of issues including positive self talk, mindfulness, goal setting, and the link between thoughts and behaviours. The Teacher has access to a range of exciting resources and lesson plans to explore these areas with their group.

Meta cognition and self regulation strategies have been found to have the highest impact on learning for the lowest costs.
The Teaching and Learning Toolkit. The Sutton Trust. 2011

Circles for Learning allows young people to focus on learning and what this means. It enables them to explore the skills that make a good learner and how these can be strengthened. Through participation in the project the group will create a culture for learning looking at skills, beliefs values and environments. They will be able to think and make connections about their own learning, share strategies that enable them to get into the ‘learning zone’ and discuss how they regulate themselves and what strategies they find most useful. For some children and young people they will, for the first time, start to realise that they can have some control over how they respond and behave.

Promoting a culture for learning, including beliefs about self, and learning to learn skills, impacts on academic performance.
Resilience and academic performance. A review of literature Christine De Baca 2010

Circles for Learning enables the Teacher and the young people to explore both the skills needed to be a successful learner as well as the emotional implications of learning. The Mother/Father and baby observations engage the young people and support their developing understanding of learning and of the nature of interactions between people. It also enables them to link their own experiences to how they think about themselves and to support self reflection and the understanding that they have choices.

Improving children’s attitudes for learning and developing a growth mindset impact on performance within school.
A review of literature Christine De Baca 2010

The Circles for Learning project enables the Teacher and the young people to create a culture for learning within their group and to share positive learning as well as wellbeing strategies with each other. The project is an all inclusive one and relies upon the group sharing knowledge and understanding with each other so that the group itself becomes a valuable resource.