Children’s Mental Health Week

Children’s Mental Health Week

Let’s take time to connect with each other

Next week is Children’s Mental Health Week 2023 and this year’s theme is “Let’s Connect” and we have been preparing a number of different things to acknowledge the week at Cargilfield.

We shall be focusing on mental wellbeing in our PSHE lessons; discussing the theme of mental health in our Chapel services, Divisional meetings and Form class sessions. The children are also being encouraged to consider how they might make meaningful connections to support the wellbeing of each other, which will include having some older children ‘connecting’ with the younger children around the School in a variety of areas of school life.

There will be a series of videos posted on our social media channels where a few of our Heads of Departments will be sharing their thoughts on how their department benefits the children’s wellbeing at Cargilfield. The week will conclude with a ‘Dress to Express’ day, where the children will be wearing bright and colourful clothes on Friday 10th with money being raised for Place2Be, the charity behind promoting Children’s Mental Health Week.

‘Mental Health’ is a phrase that can sometimes carry a stigma. The term ‘Mental Fitness’ has a more positive ring to it and is something that was brought to our attention during our in-service training at the start of this term, following a visit from the Edinburgh Academy’s Head of Outdoor Learning. She believes that the outdoor environment is crucial to helping children learn, develop and to train themselves to be mentally fit. And who could argue with that?

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As part of an all-round education given at Cargilfield, the children are offered a whole plethora of choice of outdoor activities every day and the structure of the day and the environment they can learn in, definitely helps them to develop their mental fitness. From the Beach Kindergarten and Forest School our Nursery children enjoy, to at least one hour of outdoor sport or activity every day in the Upper School, outdoor education is something we are immensely proud of providing for the children.

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That said, our extra-curricular programme to improve the wellbeing of children doesn’t just stop at outdoor education - particularly in the Upper School where some might feel the pressure of more intense classroom lessons or the thought of preparing for exams can become overwhelming. During the longer morning breaks, some children head out to the woods or the astro for some fresh air, whilst others flock to the art room or DT workshop. Some love nothing more than to curl up with a book in front of the fire in our cosy library. Our evening clubs programme is extensive and the boarding environment under the stewardship of our new Heads of Boarding, Mr and Mrs Kerr, provide more opportunities for the children to relax and enjoy time out of the classroom.


Whilst many relish the chance to get away from their desks and join in with others outside of the classroom without a problem, we recognise that for some children it is not easy and it often requires that extra encouragement to get involved. Our Learning Support Department, Gap students and Graduate Assistants do a brilliant job of bridging that wide gap between classroom teacher. They provide that extra support to those who need it and we are also looking to push this mentoring further, through the introduction of peer mentors or pupil ambassadors whose primary focus will be to “check in” with the younger children.

At the start of the academic year, we created a group called the Pastoral Leaders. This consists of key staff from across the different areas of the school who meet weekly to discuss strategic ways of developing the pastoral care at Cargilfield. The group are looking to be sector-leading in pastoral care. We believe that the physical and emotional wellbeing of a child is the essential foundation of their learning and personal development both in and out of the classroom.

Kindness, community and compassion are all values at the heart of a Cargilfield education and next week, we hope to instil these in our children by making them develop strong and positive connections with each other.

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