Dear Parents and Caregivers
Throughout this week, the class teachers have been sharing various SCARF activities with the children. (There are some lovely photos fo the work in the gallery.) This is in recognition of it being “Children’s Mental Health Awareness week”. The theme for the week is “Express Yourself”
We have talked a lot over the last couple of weeks about the impact that home learning is having on adults. The children are feeling it too.
Expressing yourself is about finding ways to share feelings, thoughts, or ideas, through creativity. This could be through art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama, photography and film, and doing activities that make you feel good.
It’s important to remember that being able to express yourself is not about being the best at something or putting on a performance for others. It is about finding a way to show who you are, and how you see the world, that can help you feel good about yourself.
For Children’s Mental Health Week 2021 we will be encouraging children (and adults) to explore the different ways we can express ourselves, and the creative ways that we can share our feelings, our thoughts and our ideas.
Around three children in every primary school class has a mental health problem.
Here are some top tips from Place2Be to help you help your child:
1.Build on existing interests or passions. Think about what has helped them get through the past year. A love of dancing? Baking? Drawing? Fashion? Encourage your child by noticing their unique interests and praising their efforts.
2. Try new things can be a great way to find a new creative outlet. There are lots of online tutorials and video demos that you and your child could be inspired by… could you try out something new together? Or perhaps ask someone you know to share their creative hobbies and give them a go.
3. Some children may not think of themselves as being creative. Try to focus on the importance of the process and the way it can make them feel, rather than the end result. Try not to judge their efforts and remember to give encouragement for trying rather than for doing something well.
4. Listening carefully can help children feel more comfortable and confident when expressing themselves. Try to minimise distractions and give your child your full attention when you’re spending time together, being aware of your own body language and eye contact. You might want to try summarising what they’ve shared and acknowledging their feelings.
5. Children are expressing themselves all the time but not necessarily with words. ‘Listen’ to everything they are trying to tell you with their behaviour, or with their play and creativity or with their silence. It’s all self-expression.
Remember – you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to get creative at home. Recyclable materials or older items you no longer have a use for can provide amazing inspiration, and of course, there’s no limit to your imagination!
If you would like to try additional SCARF activities at home, please follow this link: SCARF at home.
Tracy and Mike
Communications – a reminder
Please make sure you read the newsletter. If you know of anyone who can’t access it, please share it with them. This is our only way of communicating with all parents and caregivers.
We will add links to any message posted on the website during the week. It should be your first port of call for whole school matters.
Class Dojo and Google classroom should be your first port of call for all classroom matters.
General questions about whole school queries can either be posted on the Facebook page or you can call the school office. If it is a matter of urgency, please call. Facebook messages may get missed.
Any safeguarding concerns should be directed to the Designated Safeguarding Lead, Mike Lawrence. The contact number for out of school hours is 07751 760627 which is also on the front of the website. During school hours please use the school number, 01458 442979. You may also email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time. Please remember that if you believe a child is at risk of significant harm you should telephone 999. If you are unable to contact anyone from the school the telephone number for Somerset Direct, where you may share any concerns, is 0300 123 2224
Website posts you may have missed:
Gardening at Elmhurst – week 4. So many lovely experiences and new skills. Please have a look!
A couple of book reviews from Mr Mullen:
PE with Lee!
A past Elmhurst pupil Lee Molland is running online PE sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays (the days Joe Wicks is not doing). He is a PE teacher himself and wants to get as many schools and individual children involved as possible. He says: ‘the activities are all about feeling good, and not ability levels.’ He wants children to have an active start every day. You can even get a shout out! Please see the link below to be able to join.
New For You – Emma Bartlett and Becky Dalgarno
Keep your eyes peeled for a new and exciting group “possibly something great”. A closed group designed for parents, grandparents, carers and guardians of Elmhurst children to share experiences, worries and ideas.
In a time where we are not chatting on the playgroup and the chance to moan and whinge is not there, join our group, share your experiences and offer suggestions that have worked for you with others.
There will be a link on the Elmhurst Facebook page shortly. You can message ideas and things to share or/and join the first meeting. We look forward to hearing from you
Emotion coaching – this links in with the messages above
The Five Steps of Emotion Coaching
Emotions…we all have them. Everything we do and everything we learn is shaped in some way by the way we feel. Feelings are a natural part of who we are. But how do children learn about emotions? How do they learn to understand their sadness or joy? What is appropriate behavior when these feelings are strong? What can a parent do when a child explodes in anger or hides in fear? Parents spend lots of time teaching children important things such as reading or tying shoes. Taking time to help children learn to understand their feelings is important too.
Research shows that children who understand their feelings and learn about their emotions have these advantages:
- They form stronger friendships with other children.
- They calm themselves down more quickly when they get upset.
- They do better in school.
- They handle their moods better and have fewer negative emotions.
- They get sick less often.
For the next five weeks, we will take you through each step.
This week: Step 1: Be aware of emotions. Tune in to your child’s feelings and your own.
- Pay attention to your own emotions, from happiness to sadness to anger.
- Understand that emotions are a natural and valuable part of life.
- Observe, listen, and learn how your child expresses different emotions.
- Watch for changes in facial expressions, body language, posture, and tone of voice.
If you can, focus in on these points over the course of the week. What do you notice?
Free School meal vouchers
Further to the Government’s announcement that Free School Meals will be funded through the February half term, and for the first 2 weeks thereafter, Elmhurst Junior School will issue a £45.00 EdenRed Free School Meal voucher on Monday 15th February to cover this period. This will cover your entitlement up to 5th March.
We will of course keep you updated with any changes going forward in line with any revised government guidelines regarding school re-opening and free school meal provision.
Test and Trace – February half term
Whilst we hope that everyone has a safe half term break, we still need to have a plan in place should a child or member of staff have a positive test result in the first 48 hours of the half term.
The guidance says that, where a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus, having developed symptoms more than 48 hours since being in school, the school SHOULD NOT be contacted.
In this instance, parents and carers should follow contact tracing instructions provided by NHS Test and Trace.
For the first 48 hours after teaching ends, if a pupil or staff member tests positive for coronavirus having developed symptoms within 48 hours of being in school, the school is asked to assist in identifying close contacts and advising self-isolation, as the individual may have been infectious while they were in school.
If this is the case, you will need to inform the school. We have set up a Google form for parents to complete:
We will check our emails twice daily during this period. We will only be responding to test result emails during this time. All other emails can wait until we return to school.
We will then contact any parents and staff who are “direct contacts” in order to inform them of the need to isolate.
We are still in a national lockdown. This is the current guidance in the Gov.uk website:
“You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
You should follow this guidance immediately. This is the law.
You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person (in which case you should stay 2m apart). Exercise should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay in your local area – unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work.
Staying in your local area means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.
You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
You cannot meet other people you do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.“
Children do not hold back in what they tell us in school and nor should they. Many, many children tell us about meeting up with their friends in the park or outside the family home. If we are made aware of families who are breaking lockdown, we will be in contact with you.
We are doing all that we can in school to keep the bubbles secure. If children are breaking bubbles out of school, we would question whether they are safe to be in school.
Mixing bubbles is breaking the law. Everyone needs to follow the rules in order to keep us all safe.
Can you help? A request from Karen Chard and the gardening team
We are hoping someone may be able to help us to source some things we need for the gardens here at Elmhurst. We are in the process of turning the front bank into a lavender bank and need to contain the gravel as it gets washed down and onto the playground by the rain. We need to source 19 metres of suitable wood that we can place along the bottom to create a wall and wondered if anyone has suitable sleepers, scaffolding planks or boards that are surplus to your requirements and you would be happy to donate to the school?
We also need to get 8ft (240cm?) tall garden canes to grow our beans up so if anyone has any going spare please send them our way.
Thank you, Karen Chard
Photos for the website gallery
Please email photos (JPEGs) of any work completed through to me, Tracy Edwards at TEdwards1@ejsch.co.uk. Alternatively, if easier, you can send via Messenger. By sending them in, you agree to share them in the Elmhurst gallery on the website. Thank you in advance.
You can have a look at the gallery here: Elmhurst Lockdown Gallery 2021