We have experienced first-hand the hugely positive and far-reaching impact teaching Wellbeing has had, both on our students and on ourselves as teachers. In order to ensure optimum use of teachers’ valuable time, peak performance in the classroom and high levels of student learning and engagement, we have developed a tried-and-tested method of delivering Wellbeing in schools that we know works effectively.
The Nurture 4 Wellbeing Programme lends itself beautifully to in-classroom or remote learning. So in the event of a return to remote / blended learning, teachers can continue to deliver the wellbeing programme uninterrupted. Students continue to follow their teacher’s lessons online, using their Student Journal at home to complete the exercises that go with each lesson.
We are delighted to bring schools this newly expanded, comprehensive Wellbeing Teaching Pack which will help school management and teachers to deliver their Wellbeing lessons with ease and help schools to take a step towards reaching the 2021 requirement of delivering 400 hours of Wellbeing across the three years of Junior Cycle.
In ‘Nurture – A Student’s Guide to Wellbeing’ students and parents will discover a practical and engaging resource to support students wellbeing by enabling them to build the skills needed to successfully manage the pressures they are likely to be facing on a daily basis throughout their years in secondary school. Student Journals are available for students in 1st, 2nd and 3rd year. Our Nurture 4 Wellbeing TY Modules come complete with Digital Student Journal Activities designed to equip students with the skills necessary to flourish while simultaneously preparing for the challenges of the Leaving Certificate.
Section 1: Student Journal. Active Engagement in Classroom Learning.
Section 2: Student Diary. Self-Awareness and Reflective Writing Skills Development.
Section 3: Student Assessment. Appraisal and Evaluation.
‘Section 1: Student Journal’ comes jam-packed with reflective exercises, kindness charts, mind-maps, study timetables and planning exercises, brain-drops and many more activities to help students grow and flourish while making their learning relevant, practical and interesting!
‘Section 2: Student Diary’ helps students to manage their stress levels by balancing self-care with time management skills. It is complete with blank templates for weekday and weekend study planning, an academic goals planner, hints and tips for a wide range of Classroom Based Assessments (CBAs), weekly self-care checklists, mindful colouring pages and plenty of additional writing space to be used for lesson extensions / reflective writing practice throughout the school year.
‘Section 3: Student Assessment’ is provided to allow students to assess what they have learned and to reflect upon the impact their learning has had on their wellbeing in 1st / 2nd / 3rd Year.
As always, Student Journal entries include Learning Goals and Statements of Learning, which show students what the lesson entails and what they will learn.
We hope students enjoy whichever of our programmes they are completing this year and, through learning to successfully cope with the pressures of 1st / 2nd / 3rd Year, experience hugely positive and far-reaching effects on their wellbeing.
We hope parents see the impact at home of the skills their teenager(s) acquire while completing the programme(s).
Team Nurture 4 Wellbeing
Sanchia Connolly, Aran O’Driscoll and Holly Peters
1. Put on your own mask first! There is a good reason why this is the instruction given on airplanes to parents travelling with children. We cannot take care of others if we don’t take care of ourselves. Make time to look after yourself. You need to dedicate time to wellbeing on a daily basis and that requires planning. We are all so busy that finding time to take care of yourself is not easy but it is hugely important. Aim to make prioritising your wellbeing a habit, setting aside even as little as 20 minutes each day.
2. Mindfulness and meditation. Download a mediation app onto your phone and meditate for at least 10 mins a day. We like Headspace or Calm. Finding the time can be tricky. As you learn how to meditate and how to develop those skills further, you could meditate as you wait in the car to collect your kids, travelling on public transport, when someone else is driving. Try to find a way to create your own meditation practice at home. Check out books and YouTube lessons on meditation for further information.
3. Exercise. Being physically active has a direct impact on your physical and mental health. Ensure that you get your 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity and / or 10,000 steps a day. This will have an abundance of positive effects on your body in addition to reducing your stress levels boosting your mood! Even a quick walk at lunchtime, getting off the bus at a stop earlier or running up and down the stairs at home can squeeze more movement into a very busy schedule.
4. Sleep. Most adults must get about 7 hours sleep a night in order to function effectively. Having a regular bedtime and wake-up time help to train your body and mind to get restful sleep. Avoid all screens for a minimum of 1 hour before bed. The blue light they emit disrupts sleep patterns. Try to factor in a relaxing activity such as reading a book, having a bath or meditating.
5. Chore Board. Whether you like housework, tidying up or making school lunches or not, you should not carry the burden of most of the household tasks alone.Set up a Chore Board in a high-traffic area such as the kitchen. Assign age-appropriate chores for every member of the household. Get them to tick them off when they’re done. A simple end-of-week treat can be a good incentive for younger as well as older family members!
6. Connection with others. Being part of a community and feeling like we belong in central to our wellbeing. Meeting up with friends and chatting about our lives helps to build connections with others. If you are feeling isolated and lonely, investigate joining a local group such as a choir, hillwalking group, mens’ shed or adult sports team.
7. Time outdoors. Whatever the weather, time spent outdoors will also help to nurture our wellbeing. Fresh air and being in nature generates a feel-good factor. So, put on the rain-wear ( or snow gear or sunscreen!) and get outdoors for some time each day.
8. Gratitude. Being thankful for what you have, rather than focusing on what you don’t have can bring about a shift in mindset that helps you think more positively. Keep a small gratitude journal by your bed and make a note of 5 things you are grateful for at the end of each day.
9. Switch off. Time away from smartphones, work laptops and other devices will give you a break from relentless connectivity and constantly being bombarded by information and messages. Designate a device-free zone in your home or set aside a certain time of your day when you will switch off all devices.
10. Pay it Forward. Doing something kind for someone else without expecting anything in return not only benefits the recipient but also the person doing the action. When we do something kind for others it makes us feel good about ourselves.
1. Routine and structure. When the world feels unfamiliar and full of uncertainty, children and teenagers need support from adults who create and stick to a daily routine for the family. Knowing that we are in control of that element of our lives helps to create a sense of security.
2. Follow the Return To School Guidelines your child’s school has provided you with and the new rules and procedures for your child(ren) when in school. These will take time to get used to, so encourage your child(ren) just do their best each day to follow new instructions. Keep yourself abreast of the instructions from the school, including their most recent updates.
3. Create a checklist for yourself and the family for each evening: Labelled lunch boxes with lunches made and in the fridge, labelled water bottles, keys, wallet, phone, Leap card, small bottle of hand sanitizer, face covering, spare face coverings in ziplock bag, etc.
4. Treat others with respect. Everyone in your child’s school community (parents, students, teachers, management, office staff, support staff) will have been through lockdown and the changes Covid-19 has brought. Be kind to others - you do not know how hard it has been on them either. Be gentle with yourself as you adjust to this new way of living and support your child(ren) as they adapt to a new way of being at school.
5. It might be strange for your child(ren) to see their teachers wearing face coverings and staying 1m (preferably 2m ) away from students. Remember, it will feel strange for them too. They are still the same people they always were, with the best interests of your child(ren) at heart and they will be delighted to see them back at school. The school community is there to support you so ask for help if you need it!
6. Familiarise yourself with the most up-to-date Public Health advice.
7. Do not send your child(ren) to school if they have symptoms of Covid-19.
8. Stay healthy by taking regular exercise, staying hydrated and eating healthy food.
9. Encourage your child(ren) to communicate their worries with you. If they are worried or feeling anxious and are reluctant to talk to you, they can talk to a subject teacher, class teacher, year head, school counsellor or friend. They will help and support them. Sometimes just verbalising our worries can make us feel better.
10. If you yourself are feeling anxious, remember, you are experiencing a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances. It’s perfectly ok to feel overwhelmed. Reach out, share your concerns, keep a journal. Above all, be kind to yourself.
1. Keep a journal. Writing down your worries can get them out of your head and onto the page, especially if you find talking about them too uncomfortable. Keep a small notebook beside your bed to jot down your thoughts.
2. Music. Listen to your favourite music at a regular time-slot in the day. Music can lift your mood and help focus your mind on something enjoyable and relaxing.
3. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Being a parent is a tough, ever-changing job. Just when you think you’ve started to figure it out, a curveball may come your way and throw you off balance. Ask for help if you need it.
4. Quiet time. Work spaces and busy households can be noisy places to be, especially if they are one and the same! Try to find 10 mins of silence in your day, to give your ears and your mind a break from the noise.
5. Plan ahead. It may feel like another chore, but planning the week and month ahead and sharing those plans with the family helps to avoid miscommunication. Consider using a Google calendar or a hard-copy of a family calendar so that everyone knows what’s happening and when.
6. Date Nights for Couples. Make time for yourselves as a couple. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the whirl of family life and allow moths or (gulp!) years to go by without carving out some time away from the kids. It doesn’t have to be expensive, or even in a restaurant. A walk together in nature or nice meal or takeaway at home, after the kids have gone to bed, can be transformed into a romantic evening with a little extra effort.
7. Date Nights for Single Parents. Spending all your time and energy on your children can be draining. Book a babysitter or ask a relative or friend to mind your kids and go on a date with either your friends or a significant other. Swap babysitting nights with other parents or family members so that you get out regularly without any additional cost.
8. Rest. Even if you just lie down in your room for 15 minutes, try to rest your body and mind each day.
9. Hot bath or shower. Taking a hot bath or shower can reset your mood, preparing you for sleep or heading out to your next task, work or social event.
10. Allow yourself to feel down or cry. 2021 has been an overwhelming year for everyone and parents have been juggling a multitude of tasks and roles under very challenging circumstances. Remember, you are experiencing a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances. Give yourself a break.