As teaching practitioners, we are responsible for nurturing the whole child in line with the Curriculum for Excellence, which involves the safeguarding of their emotional, mental, social and physical wellbeing (The Scottish Government, 2008). This however, has been one of the biggest challenges of the Covid19 pandemic, which has led to school closures and the deepest recession Britain has ever seen (Richard Partington, 2020). Alongside teachers, the Scottish Government have expressed concerns about the adverse effects school closures are having on children´s progress and development, including their health and wellbeing which has been a primary focus of the Scottish attainment challenge since 2015, underpinned by the national improvement framework (Scottish Government, 2020). School routine provides an anchor for pupils, it keeps them motivated and focused and is an essential coping mechanism for children with additional support needs; without this, pupils can become stressed, worried and depressed. A recent survey conducted by SHINE, showed 55% of young males and 65% of young females are finding working from home difficult (Scottish Health and Wellbeing Improvement Research Network, 2020) and according to YoungMinds (2020), 83% of 2111 participants up to the age of 25 with a mental health condition said their condition has recently worsened. It is therefore imperative to further investigate the health and wellbeing of our pupils during digital learning and implement tasks which aim to encourage routine and improve overall mental health.
Since the outdoors is accessible to everyone and regular physical activity is known to increase self-esteem, reduce stress and anxiety (P. Salmon, 2001) and prevent/improve mental health problems (Zschucke, E., Gaudlitz, K. & Strohle, A.,2013), we have based this enquiry around daily walks which act as ´mind breaks´ from digital learning and have implemented walking tasks which incorporate the five senses to encourage self-awareness and the practice of mindfulness. According to the Garrison institute Report (2015) and Jones (2011), mindful pausing can enhance pupil engagement and academic performance by training the mind to regulate and direct attention to the present moment. This will hopefully allow pupils to focus better upon return to their computers and consequently have a more successful learning experience.
To understand the impact of incorporating daily walks into the digital learning day with an emphasis on mindfulness to ultimately improve pupil wellbeing, focus and attainment.