May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and a time for us to reflect on our school’s dedication to student well-being.
Life is sometimes tough, and emotions can be hard – that’s the truth of it. We each have our reserves of sadness or frustrations that rise to the surface, provoked by one thing or another – to remind us that we are human and that we love and care.
These difficult times can make us more joyful in the happier moments though – and practising gratefulness and a positive attitude is something that we encourage of our students year-round at HAIS.
How We Support Student Well-Being at HAIS
At HAIS our Pastoral Programme is offered weekly, every Thursday morning, to all students across Primary and Secondary schools. It is an awareness-raising and skills-building programme that addresses themes and issues relevant to the social and developmental stages of the students involved.
Today’s generation of students are growing up in a world impacted by rapidly changing technology, natural environments, and global concerns. They have greater access to information and social media influence, and it is therefore imperative to acknowledge some of these contemporary issues in a safe space.
Pastoral Care is also scheduled in the curriculum to nurture the teacher-pupil relationship and make a committed time to have a chat, check-in, and offer any emotional support that our students might need.
We believe that the act of listening is often the best thing we can do for one another. Validating one another’s feelings, and allowing all voices to be heard, gives our students confidence, courage, and the motivation to succeed.
We also offer academic support during this time, helping our students to lean into their natural talents and discover their passions. When young people learn to apply themselves and work hard at something they love, this, in turn, builds a strong sense of purpose in adulthood, which fuels a positive attitude and improves mental health.
Homeroom time from 8 AM – 8.15 AM is also a dedicated part of each morning where our teachers can sense check how students are feeling and observe students individually before the day kicks off.
With many other schools, homeroom is simply a time for checking attendance and registration, but at HAIS, our teachers make sure that there is always a conversation and that this is a time to feel comfortable to have a chat about any worries or concerns.
Exercise is a tonic for our brains, and at HAIS, our students practice physical education at least three times a week. It is part of the balanced curriculum we offer and supports their overall well-being as well as encourages long-term healthy lifestyle habits.
Sport is scheduled twice a week with each class, and every Friday the whole school participates in team sport within their House groups. The camaraderie of the House groups is such a wonderful way to end the school week. The energy and atmosphere is so pure and connected – it’s the kind of activity we know that our students will value long into the future.
Mental Health Awareness Month is clearly an important junction in the year to reflect on our emotions and well-being, but at HAIS we truly believe that every day is a day where we show up and do what we can both individually and collectively to support the welfare of our students, our peers, our friends, and our staff. Each of us has a duty to treat each other with respect, safety and care. Each of us is human after all.
Every day we try and encourage our students to have a positive outlook on life. To be active participants in the world and not just look for joy, but to reach deep for it. Pessimism can be a corrosive and damaging position to take, so actively choosing to be an optimist can strengthen our mental health enormously.