The Making Me Project
As part of our commitment to the development of children’s social, emotional and mental health, we are delighted to have launched the Mind Map programme in our school, in conjunction with the Mind Map Charity.
Making Me are a Bedford based charity working in schools in the Bedfordshire area with a focus on the prevention/early intervention of children and young people's mental ill health. Mind Map offer workshops to pupils around emotional well-being and resilience and equip teachers with tools to promote emotional literacy and wellness.
The Making Me Strategies we adopt are focused on two main objectives:
- Firstly, that in order to feel emotionally secure, and thereby engage in academic learning, children need to feel 'seen, heard and held'.
- Secondly, in a world where mental health difficulties are becoming increasing prevalent and affecting children of ever younger ages, we believe that teaching children how to stay mentally and emotionally well, equips them with life-long skills that will help to safeguard them from mental health difficulties in the future.
Making Me’s Emotional Literacy Programme for children in Reception to Year Four develops children's emotional literacy, teaches resilience skills and encourages children to use their words rather than their behaviour to communicate how they feel.
The Emotional Literacy Programme includes the following aspects - the Feelings Flower, Caterpillar Club, the Shield of Resilience Workshop and Talk Time.
The Feelings Flower:
The Feelings Flower forms the basis of the Mind Map Emotional Literacy Programme and acts as a barometer by which staff can assess the emotional well-being of each child on arrival at school. Each day, children will place ‘their caterpillar’ on the feeling they have at this time. Whatever this emotion, children will be empowered to be ‘seen’ and ‘heard’, and where needed, ‘held’.
The flowers mean I can tell the teacher how I feel, without speaking.
I put my caterpillar on the feelings flower during the day and my teacher asked me to talk and it helped me.
Caterpillar Club involves a weekly story in which any one of 18 feelings are discussed and analysed by way of a simple story about a caterpillar. The story includes aspects around how each feeling is experienced, how best they can be managed and how to practice being calm. By relating the accompanying caterpillar to feelings of well-being and communication, feedback has indicated that Caterpillar Club is a tool that can be used throughout school to help children manage difficult feelings and behaviours. In our school, each class has its own Casey Caterpillar which can be held by children when they want to feel calm. We will use it to help us breathe slowly and feel safe.
Caterpillar Club helps me explain my feelings and to know that my feelings are okay.
The Casey stories help me learn the right words to use to explain my emotions.
Shield of Resilience:
The final element to the Emotional Literacy Programme we will be adopting involves the Shield of Resilience workshop. This is a one-off workshop delivered by Mind Map staff in which each child builds up a shield outlining who they are and what they can say or do to help build their resilience. This workshop is designed to be loud and fun so that children see resilience as a positive asset supportive of children’s lives in modern Britain.
We look forward to continuing to support our children’s social, emotional and mental health with our Making Me project and weekly Caterpillar Clubs in each class from Reception to Year Four.