Sinead O’Reilly

Primary Teacher

St. Patrick's Primary Coatbridge

  • Health & Wellbeing

What Happens When you Introduce a Personal Reflective Journal to the Classroom?

Rationale

The Scottish Attainment challenge seeks to address to issue of raising attainment for all children, particularly in the areas of numeracy, literacy and health and wellbeing. Health and wellbeing is a core part of the Curriculum for Excellence. There is an emphasis on all practitioners taking responsibility to meet health and wellbeing outcomes, along with all other areas of the curriculum. Barriers to learning can include social, emotional and mental health issues that may affect concentration levels. In turn this can lead to the attainment gap widening in other curricular areas such as Numeracy and Literacy. Considering this idea, it was decided within the group to focus on providing a safe and nurturing environment to allow children an equal opportunity to learn and develop. Health and Wellbeing is recognised as being the foundation for all learning to occur, if children are not meeting health and wellbeing outcomes, then it is likely that they are having difficulty achieving outcomes in the whole curriculum. The GIFREC (Getting it Right for Every Child), approach supports children to achieve their full potential. Research shows that children can learn essential life skills through social and emotional learning, which in turn allows them to do better in school life in general. (CASEL guide, 2012). As a probationer teacher based in a school where 22% of pupils fall into the SIMD decile 1 and 2 (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation), it is important to be aware of this and plan appropriately to suit the needs of all children. A focus on health and wellbeing allows children from all backgrounds to make the most of educational opportunities (Scottish Government, online). It is also worth considering that there is a responsibility for practitioners to demonstrate a ‘ secure knowledge and understanding of the methods and underlying theories for effective teaching of literacy, numeracy and health and wellbeing; and effectively select the most appropriate methods to meet all learners’ needs; (GTCS, 2012). The focus of this enquiry was to imbed a structured mindfulness activity in the classroom, in the hope of meeting health and wellbeing outcomes for the children involved. In addition, it was hoped that in doing so the classroom environment would also improve and become more conducive for learning.

Aims

The aim of the professional enquiry is to ascertain if providing time for mindfulness leads to a more relaxed learning environment. Research tells us that there are ‘strong links that exist between health and wellbeing, on the one hand, and achievements in learning on the other, are widely recognised’ (Education Scotland, 2013). It is anticipated that creating a space for mindfulness and allowing children time to complete a mindfulness diary each day will allow for a more relaxed and productive learning environment. Within the subject class ability varies from early to second level. With regards to behaviour, children in the class generally adhere to the positive behaviour policy. It is expected that allowing children time to complete a mindfulness activity will create a better learning atmosphere in the class and children will feel ready to learn.

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