Are you looking for Resources and Information to help you support the Mental Health and Wellbeing of the children you teach?
What is Circles for Learning?
Circles for Learning is a unique whole class or small group project that is focused on developing the five essential elements that enable positive foundations for mental health and wellbeing to develop.
Positive Relationships: including social skills, empathy and restorative practices and the learning relationship.
Emotional Literacy: including recognising and managing emotions in ourselves and others.
Self-awareness: including self-concept, self-esteem, self-regulation, resilience and self-image
Skills for learning: including learning dimensions, emotional barriers to learning, working with others and problem solving.
Understanding the brain and how it impacts on learning and behaviour: including brain development, the stress response, trauma, and mindsets
How does Circles for Learning work?
Circles for Learning trains and then supports teachers to bring a parent and young child into the classroom (KS1-KS3) once a month for a year. This amazing experience allows children to observe the development of relationships, watch learning unfold, understand how our sense of self develops and observe and understand emotions and the ways in which they impact on our behaviour. With the guidance and support of their teacher they explore and think about what they have seen and how this may link to their own development, learning, thinking, behaviour and ways of interacting with others. These parent young child observation visits are the provocation or stimulus to follow up work led by the teacher exploring each of the five essential elements that form the foundations for positive mental health and wellbeing.
What will children learn?
With their class teacher’s support, the Children and Young People observe, explore and discuss the interactions, learning and emotions being played out in front of them. They get to watch how a baby responds to a loving adult and how this important relationship enables them to be curious and explore; how they behave when frightened or overwhelmed; and how they learn to do things or manage the frustrations when they are not able to. They get to watch how emotions become the driving force to a range of behaviours and how the baby starts to put together an idea of who they are and how they can interact with the world around them. Working alongside their class teacher, the children and young people explore how someone else might feel and how that feeling influences their actions. Whilst doing this the class teacher is in a privileged position to help the children link what they see to their own learning, emotions and behaviours.
Children and Young People will develop:
- Emotional competencies, so that CYP can talk about how things make them feel and how to manage those feelings.
- Social competencies, so that they have the skills and knowledge to develop positive relationships and manage conflict.
- Greater self-awareness, so that they can discuss the strategies they use to motivate themselves or self-regulate, the self-talk they employ when stuck and the strategies they use for solving problems.
- The ability to recognise the needs of others and think about ways of supporting them.
- Strategies they can then use to manage learning when it doesn't go well, or they become stuck.
- Awareness of how their emotions drive their behaviour and how their behaviour may affect others.
- Strategies to manage themselves when things don’t go as planned or they experience overwhelming feelings.
These rich observation sessions are then followed up by a range of exciting and interactive activities that are planned by their class teacher to support and develop positive foundations for mental health and wellbeing.
All the follow up lessons are found in the Mental Health and Wellbeing Teachers Toolkit; a collection of 5 books written by Alison containing resources for teachers to use within the classroom focused on developing the five key areas. Each book contains a variety of activities for KS1-KS3. The resources are written in such a way that the teacher can create the follow up work their Children and Young People need rather than having to follow a prewritten plan.
The activities gradually build and strengthen the CYP’s skills and understanding about how to recognise and manage emotions, become more self-aware and develop a range of social skills as well as develop positive relationships. They are also designed to support the CYP in understanding how they engage and manage learning both in and out of the classroom and the many emotions involved in the learning process. Supported by their Class Teacher the CYP who experience the Circles for Learning project are helped to develop the skills and strategies that they may need in the future, to grow and develop into individuals who are able to manage the challenges life will give them and thrive
What are the Benefits for my School?
Circles for Learning enables busy teachers to support the development of Positive Foundations for Mental Health and Wellbeing within their classrooms.
The Circles for Learning project focuses on staff development as well as on work with the children and young people. To enable staff to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence they need to run the project there are a range of online training courses. Each course is supported by a coach who has developed Circles for Learning in their own classroom. Due to the wide variety of knowledge and experience that Teachers have, the training is specific to their needs and the needs of their school. For some, this may mean completing the 5 courses, however for others this may mean completing only one or two.
Circles for Learning offers schools the opportunity to develop a proactive approach to supporting CYP’s mental health and wellbeing with prevention at the core. It supports staff development enabling staff to develop a classroom environment that builds and grows the 5 essential areas that have been shown to create positive foundations for mental health and wellbeing. Courses are all interactive, low cost and CPD accredited. Evidence demonstrates that teaching strategies enabling children and young people to talk, share and cope with a variety of issues and difficulties has a positive effect on their mental health and wellbeing in the future. Circles for Learning is a very powerful project which, through a range of research, has demonstrated positive impact both for CYP and the staff who take part. It has demonstrated that it can make a real difference to: CYP’s social skills, empathy, resilience, emotional literacy, self-awareness, behaviour and the ability to develop positive relationships in and out of the classroom.
Circles for Learning offers schools the opportunity to create a pro-active approach to mental health and wellbeing with relationships at its heart.