Hallfield School’s focus on wellbeing helps mental health education.
Children at a Birmingham school were thrilled to be presented with books containing stories and passages that they had written.
Last week, Hallfield School in Edgbaston welcomed children’s author, Juliet Clare Bell, back to school to present Year 4 and Year 5 pupils with the books she had worked closely with them to produce.
The book, titled I Am A Work in Progress, is the outcome of a five-week project where Clare worked with the children on a series of confidence boosting exercises.
Clare said: “During the project, we focused on becoming more comfortable making mistakes – and working out what we could do with them or learn from them. We touched on mindfulness, where the emphasis is on remaining present, and we practiced ways of becoming more open and of having a growth mindset, believing that we can be active in making ourselves better at what we do.
“I wanted to create an environment where we all felt safe to make mistakes and take risks, and to talk about mistakes we had made in the past so that we could learn from them.”
Throughout the project the plucky children were tasked with creating mistake journals where they had to log their mistakes, say how they made them feel and what they learned from them.
They also created stories that related to their own fears; wrote separately about some of their own mistakes, and set themselves challenges relating to something they’d really like to do, all of which features in I Am a Work in Progress.
“It was a special time for me coming to Hallfield and working with all the Year 4s and a handful of the Year 5s.
“Quite a lot of our writers were keen for their stories and writings to remain anonymous and yet still wished to have them in the book because they felt it would help other people. I was really touched by that. I have a lot of admiration for all of the children in this book, and I hope that they will continue to feel confident to take risks and make mistakes as they grow.”
Mrs Eve Kirby, Head of Pastoral Care at Hallfield School, said: “We were delighted to welcome Clare back to Hallfield to present the children with their books. They were so excited to skim through and find their stories.
“I Am a Work in Progress is a brilliant project and a great way of boosting children’s confidence and allowing them to take more risks. It was great to have Clare on board with us.”
These sessions follow on from last term’s mental health workshop for teachers where they were educated on how to spot anxiety and depression in their pupils.