The main aim of our PSHE and RSE curriculums is to help children to grow emotionally and socially. This teaching cannot be limited to timetabled lessons. The emotional and social development of each child is at the heart of daily school life and the pastoral care of all the children at St Peter’s.
We employ a ‘Who looks after me?’ safety circle. All children complete their own safety circle that they keep in their tray. This reminds the children of who they can go to if they have a worry and that there is always someone to talk to.
A critical component of the PSHE curriculum is to provide opportunities for pupils to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes and explore the complex and sometimes conflicting range of values and attitudes they encounter now and in the future. St Peter’s PSHE curriculum contributes to personal development by helping pupils to build their confidence, resilience and self-esteem, and to identify and manage risk, make informed choices and understand what influences their decisions. It enables them to recognise, accept and shape their identities, to understand and accommodate differences and change, to manage emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings.
Everything we do takes account of pupils’ prior learning and experiences and reflects the universal needs of all children and young people as well as the specific needs of the pupils in the school.
Our PSHE curriculum covers some key areas:
– Health & Wellbeing
– Living in the Wider World
PSHE is delivered within a whole school approach which includes:
- Dedicated curriculum time
- Teaching PSHE through and in other subjects/curriculum areas
- Circle Time
- Specialised assemblies
- PSHE activities and school events
- Pastoral care and guidance
- Visiting speakers
Developing an understanding of themselves, empathy and the ability to work with others will help our pupils to form and maintain good relationships, develop the essential skills for future employability and better enjoy and manage their lives.
What are we doing about Wellbeing?
- We are supporting learners to develop their resilience, confidence and independence.
At St Peter’s Preparatory School, we are approaching this through the introduction of Philosophy 4 Children in some subjects, and through developing a PSHE curriculum which raises difficult subjects. All elements of which can be debated and reflected upon in a safe forum. Pupils at St Peter’s will develop the skills to help them to ‘… become more thoughtful, more reflective, more considerate and more reasonable individuals.’ Lipman, M. (1996:15) Philosophy in the Classroom
- We will help the children to know how to keep physically and mentally healthy.
St Peter’s has always been very good at keeping children physically fit with an excellent Sport, PE and Games programme. There are Independent Listeners available to the school who regularly visit, as well as a weekly Listening Surgery. We have rewards, celebration assemblies and celebration newsletters to ensure that children share in the achievements of each other and learn more about the opportunities available to them. A reward based culture and not sanctions-led culture creates an environment of trust and harmony.
- Develop a curriculum that includes mental health as part of RSE and fits within PSHE.
In order to stay mentally healthy, we have introduced mindfulness units of work into the curriculum. ‘PawsB’ and a ‘dotB’ are introduced through the activity programme and encouraged and supported in class; as a result they build up mindfulness skills and techniques for use throughout the rest of their lives. Plus we also offer mindful activities or meditations on occasion throughout the school. In addition, most classes have introduced ‘Acts of Kindness’ in a variety of styles. The idea is that the children are challenged to act kindly towards other children. When we partake in kind acts towards others, our brains’ reward centres are firing and our bodies release happy hormones. This, in turn, boosts our own sense of happiness. It is a circle of positivity. Another way the school achieves this is through the fundraising activities for our current charity, Devon Air Ambulance Trust. By raising money for a good cause, children feel that they are making a positive impact.
We are encouraging the children to feel that they belong to a ‘tribe’ within their tutor groups, where all children have a responsibility to look out for the wellbeing of every other member of the group. In the Central Zone, we have introduced a ‘Buddy Bench’ where anyone who is feeling alone or that would like to talk can sit. Usually the children scoop up these individuals before the duty teacher becomes involved thus, so far, no child has had to sit there for long.
The impact of championing mindfulness is evident through our pupils’ own words:
Quotes from our pupils
“The best thing is that I can forget about playtime when I fell out with my friends and concentrate on the lesson”
“If I’m nervous before a swimming race, I just do some finger breathing to calm me down, nobody can see I’m doing it but it works. I know then that I can swim and do my best”
“I try to remember when I’m panicking in a test that my mind is wandering and creating worries, all I need to do is put my attention into the test and if the worries come back, I do it again”
“Sometimes I get really cross. I’m trying to stop and do some mindfulness so that I have time to decide what to do next”
“I’m in control of my attention, I can place it where I want. Sometimes I zoom in my attention like when I’m doing handwriting and sometimes I zoom out my attention when I’m playing it”
“It makes me feel calmer”
“ It makes me feel more relaxed”