Children’s Mental Health Week
The theme of Children’s Mental Health Week is Express Yourself.
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. At Isca Academy this week there will be a focus on positive mental health as part of Children’s Mental Health Week.
Activities for Year 7 and Year 8 Students
Sustrans, a charity making it easier to walk and cycle, have worked with Isca Academy on several recent projects. They have created some excellent activities based around 5 Sensory Discoveries, all designed to help children be active, focused, positive and happy, and especially move away from screens at this time.
Take 5 Sensory Discovery – use all 5 senses to discover the world around you
Soundscapes – take notice of the sounds you hear
Prism Pursuit – take notice of all the colours you see
Activities for Year 9, 10 and 11 Students
What is self-expression, and why is it important?
Self-expression is about communicating your individuality. This can be through words, clothing and hairstyle, or through art forms such as writing, drawing, music and dance. Self-expression can help you to showcase your true self – your story, your thoughts, feelings and emotions. But this can also make us feel vulnerable, so you might want to take things one step at a time. We often get told by our family, friends, school, communities and through social media how we ‘should’ look, think, speak, and act. These constant messages about what we ought to do, and who we ought to be, can make it difficult to let go of expectations and express our true selves.
Self-expression helps us connect to our true self
Self-expression is a great way to relieve yourself of stress and free your mind. Self-expression can help you to reflect on your life, actions, decisions, relationships, beliefs, and thoughts — rather than keep them buried deep down.
This is not about producing great art or performances. This is about connecting with your true selves and to others.
Make a photo montage or short video that expresses WHO you are as a person
This could include your current likes and dislikes, strengths, interests, dreams and passions. Alternatively, you may like to complete a 7-day photo challenge during Children’s Mental Health Week, for instance taking one photo a day that captures or expresses some aspect of yourself, either literally or in abstract form.
Write a daily journal
Keep a daily journal in which you write about whatever comes to mind. It can be helpful to carry around an ideas book with you. Jotting down your thoughts can also help you to problem-solve — mind maps are a great tool for this. Creating vision boards about your future dreams and aspirations can also help to motivate and inspire you.
Make inside-outside boxes
Follow these simple instructions: decorate a box with images and words on the outside to represent the qualities you show to the world decorate the inside of the box with images and words that represent the inner qualities, interests and passions that are hidden to most people discuss why we all do this and what stops us sharing all of ourselves with others.
Understanding dance as a form of self-care
Watch the following videos as inspiration for how dancing can be used as a way to de-stress, join in and express your identity:
- Dancing Di’ Stress Away by Study in Sweden
- Dance as self-care by Anna Freud NCCF – Make up fun dances. Remember the focus is on having fun and expressing yourself — not on being the world’s best dancer!
Pick a quotation that means something to you
Choose a quotation about self-expression that resonates with you. This could have been said by a famous person, or selected from a song or book etc. Here are some examples you could use:
- Brenda Ueland:“Everybody is talented because everybody who is human has something to express.”
- Fay Weldon: “The desire for self-expression afflicts people when they feel there is something of themselves which is not getting through to the outside world.”
- Deeyah Khan: “Self-expression should not be a challenge that demands extraordinary talent but should be a right accessible to all.”
- Criss Jami: “Everyone has their own ways of expression. I believe we all have a lot to say, but finding ways to say it is more than half the battle.”
- Mahatma Gandhi: “I want freedom for the full expression of my personality.”
- Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Put your quotation in the middle of a large piece of paper. Use art and craft materials to express yourself creatively around the text. You might want to use some of the following questions as prompts:
- How does this quote make you feel?
- What does it make you think of?
- What colours or shapes reflect how you feel when you read this quote?
Mindfulness Activities – suitable for all students
Below we have four short videos from Mrs Hughes introducing some exercises and techniques that students may find useful to practice when dealing with a difficult thought or issue, or as a regular practice of creative mindfulness.
These are techniques that are widely available on other channels, but brought to you by a teacher that is experienced in introducing these to our students at Isca. These are suitable for younger and older students.
Mindfulness and Emotional Freedom Techniques
Creative Wellbeing – Activity 1
Creative Wellbeing – Activity 2
Creative Wellbeing – Activity 3
With over 550 students already using Studio71 regularly, why not take a look at Isca’s Arts-based Mental Health and Wellbeing Programme.
Take a look in Google Classroom. Studio71 is there to help you manage your social and physical wellbeing. You will find quizzes, tips, Mindfulness activities, suggestions for expressing your feelings through art, daily check-ins, weekly Kahoot Quizzes, working from home tips, a virtual social club and coping strategies, to name only a few things.