Like all parents, we want your child to feel loved and to know how to love others. It is belonging and relating to others that fosters self-esteem, brings happiness and makes a life worth living.
Without these cornerstones of wellbeing, your child’s potential will never be fully realised. Everything else hinges on it. We all want good grades but we want these with good mental health, confidence and resilience.
How do we ensure this happens? Ultimately, it’s all about being attuned to your child’s needs. The pillars of our approach are:
- Emotional literacy – Being aware of feelings and talking about them. To encourage this we ask your child to register his or her emotions at the start of each day, or if they change. It might sound small, but if we know your child is feeling tired or angry we can pre-empt any difficulties or worries through a conversation. These regular surveys allow your child to raise issues they don’t feel brave enough to talk about. Self esteem blossoms when a worry is shared, taken seriously and resolved. As part of our OVS Worry Procedure we encourage all children to speak to various members of our School Community. This includes teachers, parents, School Council Representatives (who are also our Mental Health Ambassadors) and House Captains.
- Time – We want your child to avoid becoming one of society’s ‘hurried and worried’. That’s why we have implemented our unique “OVS 3 Knock Rule”. A child may tell their teacher at anytime they’d like to use the 3 Knock Rule which signifies the need for time and attention. We ensure the child then has the opportunity to visit the Head of School or another member of Senior Leadership Team to discuss their worry. The staff member will then build in time to follow up worries with your child and discuss them with parents, whilst also allowing children the time to solve problems and make choices themselves with support from us.
- Space – The links between green space and wellbeing are well documented, as is the importance of having ‘space’ in your day. Our beautiful school garden and OVS Woodland provide fresh air and areas to build dens, roll down hills or just potter about with friends at break time.
- Tools – From as early as age 3, we will start to equip your child with the tools to navigate socially and emotionally through life. Regular mindfulness sessions, online during Distance Learning and in person at school coupled with the Jigsaw scheme of work used in PHSE (Personal, Social, Health and Emotional Learning) throughout the school, everything is designed to strengthen these skills. We follow a positive and restorative approach to behaviour, which focuses as much on feelings and repairing relationships as on what happened.
- Support – The right infrastructure is vital. We have close links with a number of external organisations if additional support is required. The School Mental Health First Aider, our Designated Safeguarding Leads and School Listener are all available.
At OVS we are proud to support Mental Health week www.childrensmentalhealthweek.org.uk