Dulwich Prep Cranbrook explains the success behind its new PSHCEE program
As every child’s inner world colours how they approach life, we believe it makes sense to start with the inside and work out, which is why in September 2019 we introduced the iSpace Mental Health and Wellbeing Curriculum.
We’re happy pioneers of iSpace – a progressive and preventative approach to mental health and wellbeing. It’s a curriculum designed to make learning about mental health fun using a new language, quirky characters and a variety of engaging exercises. All our children (Nursery to Y8) enjoy a mix of weekly lessons and assemblies based on the iSpace curriculum and PSHCEE (Personal, Social, Health, Citizenship and Economic Education) topics. As part of a whole-school approach, PSHCEE develops the qualities and attributes children need to thrive as individuals, family members and members of society.
When surveyed in December 2020, 94% of our children said they’d used breathing to settle their emotions at times of anxiety or anger; 85% felt able to talk about their feelings; 94% understood how to look after their body and mind; 81% felt that they got on better with their family; and 70% felt they’d spent less time worrying – quite something, during a global pandemic! Our PSHCEE curriculum is the perfect complement to our partnership with the leading mental health charity, Place2Be. We feel it is very important that conversations around wellbeing, from troubles in the playground to more deep-seated issues, take place as a matter of course throughout the school. And Place2Be’s residency helps make this possible, as well as giving all our children easy access to therapeutic support if needed.
The children at Dulwich Prep Cranbrook are learning the link between physical and mental health, and workshops on resilience have looked at building a mental health hygiene routine – ranging from having a tidy bedroom, to eating the right foods, having enough sleep, and the importance of time away from screens. Years 7 and 8 use a wellbeing compass to gauge how they feel on a particular day. Resilience workshops have given the children the language to help them build their confidence – exercise the power of YET. Adding ‘Yet’ to the sentence ‘I can’t do that…’ helps to create a growth mindset.
Recent PSHCEE topics have included the Big Legal Lesson, where children discussed the rule of law and government, Growing Up Talks, Anti-Bullying workshops, Human Rights, the US Election, and Internet Safety using SID (Safer Internet Day) as a starting point. Our youngest children have regular circle time sessions where they talk about friendship and kindness. PSHCEE embraces everything that helps our children become healthy, independent and responsible members of a diverse and tolerant society.
“Children need to develop the necessary skills and language to express their feelings and emotions. They need to be able to recognise and identify the moments that might cause them heightened anxiety and/or distress and to have tools to equip them to manage these successfully throughout their life journey. Simple breathing exercises and learning when, and how to take time, are already giving the children the ability to manage their emotions more effectively. They are also developing the confidence to discuss their feelings openly.”
Mrs Alison Eckersley, Assistant Head Welfare at Dulwich Prep Cranbrook
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