Scoil Phádraig is a health promoting school and working in partnership with parents is a key element of this. We are currently involved in an initiative to promote Wellbeing for both staff and students in our school. We began this initiative in November 2015 by reviewing our current practice in school and at home through a form of self-evaluation.Following on from this, the staff evaluated and discussed the findings in order to develop a policy and a variety of practices that contribute to the wellbeing of the whole school community. These results also helped us to evaluate how we are doing currently and what is working successfully. It helped us highlight areas where we need to improve and outline our priorities for development. This is all in line with the HSE Guidelines for Mental Health Promotion “Wellbeing in Primary Schools”. Our NEPS Psychologist, Ms Claire Connell also delivered training to all staff on how to develop a school policy on Wellbeing. The following areas were targeted as priority in the school year 2016/2017
• A school care team dedicated to the promotion of positive wellbeing for all
• 5 minutes mindfulness/meditation to become part of our school day
• An election of a Student Council
• A variety of yard games to be introduced
• Tips for parents to enhance their children’s wellbeing
We have had an extremely successful school year in 2016/2017. Our first ever Student Council had a great year. We elected a head boy and vice-head boy from 6th class and captains and vice-captains were elected to represent their own class at each level. The boys helped out in many aspects of the school and were always eager to give of their time.
The main duties of the members of the student council include:
• Helping out with the preparation for the Communion parties and greeting visitors on the day
• Meeting and greeting parents at our annual violin recital
• Greeting and directing our new Junior Infants and their parents on their first visit to the school last June
• Helping with the 6th class graduation mass, where our head boy Aaron Casey gave an excellent speech
• Setting up and running yard games for Senior Infants and 3rd class
• Planning, organising and running their own very successful fundraiser in which they raised funds to supply all the classes with sports balls and games
All of the boys on the Council have done a great job and we are very proud of them.
Our second Student Council for 2018 is now up and running and are working very hard to enhance the life of the students in Scoil Phádraig.
Our Senior Infants and 3rd classes enjoyed yard games in May/June 2017 and September/October 2017 organised by our Student Council members from 5th/6th classes. These yard games will begin again in May/June 2018.
Classes are benefitting from our 5 minutes of mindfulness practice each day.
For the 2017/2018 school year we prioritised the following areas as well as building on the great work from the previous school year
• Staff Wellbeing
In an ever increasing environment of increasing workload with constant Dept of Ed initiatives it is becoming more and more important to mind ourselves. With this in mind we have had guest speakers visit our school to speak to our staff about living our life well and staying healthy in body and mind. Mr. Shane Martin was a guest speaker in May 2017 and we all benefitted greatly from his words of wisdom. We are continuing to work on this area.
• Adopting an attitude of Gratitude
Each class takes turns to discuss things we are grateful for. It is a proven fact that those of us who practise gratitude live a happier life.
• Special Mention Board
Each month since November 2017 each teacher is asked to select a pupil who deserves a special mention. This is not necessarily for academic reasons and more for their personal attributes of kindness, being a good friend, being helpful, caring etc. The boys who get a special mention are boys who follow the Golden Rules of our school. These names are then displayed on our wellbeing board in the big and small hall each month and get special recognition for this mention at our assemblies.
In the school year 2018/19 we will continue with our work and hope to work on the whole area of restorative practice.
You as parents can also help us in making a difference in your child’s life to ensure that your child will successfully function on social, emotional and academic level.
1. Limit technology. Our findings showed that a high percentage of students felt tired at school and felt that they didn’t have enough energy to function at school. Please ensure a limited amount of screen time and try to remove all screens from the bedroom to ensure that our students get a good night’s sleep. Try to go to bed at a consistent time in order to come to school available for learning each day.
2. Ensure that the students have a nutritious breakfast and lunch. A treat is allowed on a Friday. Please limit this to one treat in line with our policy on healthy eating.
3. Train delayed gratification. It is okay to have “I am bored” time- this is the first step to creativity. Gradually increase the waiting time between “I want” and “I get”. Avoid technology in cars and restaurants and instead teach them waiting while talking and playing games.
4. Don’t be afraid to set the limits. Children need limits to grow healthy and happy. Make a schedule for meal times, sleep times and technology time.
5. Teach your child to do monotonous work from early years as it is the foundation for future “workability”. Folding laundry, tidying up toys, hanging clothes, unpacking groceries, setting the table, making lunch, unpacking their lunchbox, making their bed, filling/emptying the dishwasher etc. This is basic monotonous work that trains the brain to be workable and function under “boredom”, which is the same “muscle” that is required to be eventually teachable at school.
6. Teach social skills such as turn taking, sharing, losing/winning, compromising, complimenting others, using please and thank you etc. A young person’s ability to recognise and express their emotions is fundamental to his capacity to learn.
7. Try to ensure that your child gets an adequate amount of physical exercise.
8. Ensure that your son has time to unwind and be present in the moment.
With your help, we will strive to further promote positive well-being for our boys and build on existing good practice and continue to support the wellbeing of all.