Learning for Life
At Newton Primary School we teach P.S.H.E (Personal, Social and Health Education) together with R.S.E (Relationships and Sex Education) through our Learning for Life curriculum.
We strive to help our pupils understand how they are developing personally and socially, and enable them to tackle many of the moral, social and cultural issues that are part of growing up.
An important part of Learning for Life is the ability to discuss and debate issues with clarity, and listen to people’s points of view, whilst understanding that you do not have to agree with them but recognise their point of view.
We use a scheme of work called Jigsaw which uses a mindfulness approach to P.S.H.E and R.S.E
How would children and their learning benefit if they could be aware of their thoughts and feelings as they happen, in the present moment, on purpose with no judgement?
This is what mindfulness means.
How could being mindful help to address the emotional health and behaviour issues so often acting as barriers to learning?
to be aware of your thoughts and feelings as they arise
to be able to focus your mind on what you choose to focus it on both outside of you and within you.
Thoughts and feelings motivate and determine actions/responses/behaviours. If we are caught up in thoughts and feelings and are not aware of them as they happen, the responses that follow may not be under our control, and may not be in our best interest or appropriate in the situation.
If a child can be aware of their thoughts and feelings as they arise and have been taught and practised how to use interventions e.g. breathing (Calm Me) techniques, they can choose to regulate/ manage their thoughts and feelings by using these interventions. They can effectively press the ‘pause’ button and consider whether to allow that chain of thoughts to continue or to change its direction, thus potentially choosing the response, action/ behaviour that will be motivated by it.
If thoughts and feelings are left unchecked they will lead to responses/actions/behaviours (e.g. fight/ flight/freeze responses), and some of these may not be conducive to learning either for the child or their classmates.
If I can see my thoughts as they arise and intervene, I can press the ‘pause’ button and consider my response.
Mindful children can more readily choose their responses to situations rather than react while caught up in the thought-flows and emotions, saving behaviour issues from happening, helping concentration and lessening stress and anxiety.
This is empowering.
In Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, mindfulness is developed in 3 main ways:
a) through the ‘Calm Me’ time in each Piece (lesson). This consists of breathing techniques, awareness exercises and visualisations, enabling children not to empty their minds but to quiet them and become aware of the activity within them and manage it positively
b) through the taught curriculum. Lessons (Pieces) help children
to explore their thoughts and feelings, to expand their emotional vocabulary, explore thoughts-feelings-consequence sequences, build their confidence and express themselves in a safe environment.
c) through the ‘Pause Points’ in lessons (Pieces) which ask children to ‘Stop and look inside’ to practise observing their thoughts and feelings relating to what they are learning about in that lesson.
Jigsaw Jerrie Cat is introduced in the first Puzzle (Being Me in My World) through 2 whole-school assemblies and acts as the trigger for PAUSE POINTS in lessons (the teacher using Jerrie Cat’s Paws, to symbolise the Pause Point for children).
We strive to provide our pupils with opportunities to learn about their rights and responsibilities and appreciate what it means to be a member of a diverse society.
Our children are encouraged to develop their sense of self-worth by playing a positive role in contributing to school life and the wider community.
We aim to have a positive impact on both academic and non-academic outcomes for all pupils.
Our ultimate aim is for every single child who leaves Newton Primary to become the very best that they can be and to ensure that disadvantage does not hold any child back.