It is the belief of the Scottish Government that achieving better outcomes for children in Health and Wellbeing (HWB) has a positive impact on attainment within other curricular areas (Scottish Government, 2018) HWB, Literacy and Numeracy are three core areas of The Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) and are the responsibility of all school educators (Education Scotland, 2020). One of the aims of the Scottish Government is to narrow the gap in achievement, attainment and HWB in order to reduce social, economic and mental inequalities amongst children (Education Scotland, 2014). According to the Centre for Mental Health, Children from low income families are four times more likely to experience mental health problems than peers who come from high income families (Centre for Mental Health, 2018). As a teacher working in a focus school for The Scottish Attainment Challenge, with a catchment area of high deprivation, it is of vital importance to provide quality teaching within HWB in order to support every child. Research shows that children from areas of high levels of deprivation may be coming to school hungry, tired and anxious, which are all barriers to learning. It is therefore integral that practitioners ensure all children feel included, nurtured, respected, healthy and safe in line with the SHANARRI indicators, in order to help them achieve and attain to their full potential (Education Scotland, 2020). The most common mental health problems affecting children are conduct disorders, which are defined as severe and persistent behavioural issues (Centre for Mental Health, 2018), therefore becoming major barriers to learning. For this enquiry, it was hoped that the use of guided relaxation in the classroom would improve the children’s ability to settle, focus and manage their mental health and behaviour, therefore having a positive impact on the quality of learning taking place.
The aim of this practitioner enquiry was to establish the impact of carrying out guided relaxation within the classroom, specifically after a break from learning. Before and after implementing the guided relaxation activity, assessments were carried out to determine if there was an effect on the children’s wellbeing, attitude towards learning, overall focus and the quality of learning that took place. By doing this consistently and on a daily basis, a wealth of evidence was collected to establish if learners returned to classwork with an improved mindset to learn.