We teach children about good mental health through our Jigsaw PSHE scheme. Lessons cover the latest government guidance on teaching about mental health. Confidence in oneself and awareness of self – the backbones of good mental health – are difficult concepts for children to adopt. The practice of mindfulness, where children learn to be in the present moment without judgement, is taught in every weekly Jigsaw lesson and throughout the day to encourage children to help themselves to feel calm through visualisation and through breathing techniques. Mindfulness practice enables them to observe their own thoughts and feelings, regulate them and make conscious decisions about their learning, behaviour and lives. It helps them to remain focused on the present moment and thrive in it.
The Healthy Me Puzzle in the Jigsaw PSHE scheme is where most of the ‘traditional’ health promotion lessons are. From the Eat Well plate and the importance of physical activity for a healthy body (and mind) in the earlier year groups, to the more sophisticated health messages about choice, lifestyle and mental and emotional health promotion in the older year groups, children gain a fully experiential approach to holistic health in Jigsaw – and how it is their responsibility to care for their bodies.
In addition to our mindfulness approach, children are taught yoga on a weekly basis. Yoga at an early age encourages self-esteem and body awareness with a physical activity that’s noncompetitive. Children derive enormous benefits from yoga. Physically, it enhances their flexibility, strength, coordination, and body awareness. In addition, their concentration and sense of calmness and relaxation improves.