Today the children were each handed a paper heart and were asked to crumple it, step on it (without ripping it), and say unkind things to it. After that they unfolded their heart, smoothed it out and tried to get it look as smooth and fresh as it was before. Of coursed everyone’s heart styed crumpled and tatty. The children were then asked to applogise to their heart and see if they could fix it. We had a discussion about how even though they said they were sorry, the creases still didn’t come out no matter how hard they tried to fix it, and this is exactly what happens when one child is nasty to another. You might not be able to see it on the outside but all those crumples stay with them on the inside!
Today the children were asked to squeeze an entire tube of toothpaste onto a paper plate. They were then asked to try and get as much toothpaste back into the tube as possible. After a while they realised it wasn’t going back in! We then had a discussion about words and phrases that have been said to them that are hurtful and wrote them on a whiteboard. We looked at the words and talked about how they are just like the toothpaste that has been squeezed out of the tube. Once hurtful words have come out of your mouth, you can’t put those words back in! We thought about how we should choose our words carefully even when we are angry. Even if people forgive us for saying hurtful things, they will still remember that those words have been said.
We are now practising Mindfulness in nurture every day. Mindfulness is an approach that aims to further develop children’s life skills by helping them self-regulate and self-calm, pay attention to themselves and the world they live in and to reflect effectively on their relationships.
The key aims of mindfulness – these are to develop the following:
- Attention – awareness of emotions, thoughts, feelings and greater concentration
- Balance – time for you, time for family and friends, time for school and studying
- Compassion -self acceptance, non-judgemental
The purpose of practising mindfulnes is to better understand ourselves and allow us to have feelings without allowing the feelings to control us and our actions. Mindfulness aims to help us relax, to remain calm, to give ourselves compassion and not constantly compare ourselves with others.
We play lots of game to learn about ourselves and each other; for example, games to help us become more aware of physical sensations, thoughts and feelings, to slow down, to focus on breathing, or simply to be able to accept a thought then let it go. We now practise mindfulness activities everyday in nurture. Sometimes these will last for two to three minutes and sometimes they may last for ten. The more we practise the better our skills become!
Reinforcing skills at home
The children can practise mindful activities in a range of contexts- including at home. The nurture children are given a Mindfulness Record on which they can record their own mindful minutes and reflect on how effective these are in terms of maintaining their overall wellbeing.
Our team building activity this week was to use different lengths of drainpipe to enable a ball to roll along them and land in a bucket at the end. Of course it wasn’t as simple as that… the bucket was further away than the length of the drainpipes put together. The children had to learn how to work together and comminucate to work towards the common goal of getting the ball in the bucket without it dropping to the floor.
Teambuilding activiites focus on collaboration and co-operation , not competition. When a team work together to solve a challenge everyone in the group wins and all children have a positive experience. The skills learned from being part of a team are essential in everyday life in school and at home.
We have had lots of discussions about telling the truth in Nurture this week. We’ve talked about why it is important to tell the truth , which sort of things are VERY IMPORTANT to be truthful about and other siutations when it is still IMPORTANT to tell the truth about what happened. We realised there are other times when it is OK to tell a small white lie to stop somebody from feeling hurt. We also talked about how we should NEVER keep a secret that feels wrong or uncomfortable.
This week we have been talking about feeling angry. Everyone feels angry sometimes, so we talked about all the things that make us angry, such as when someone hurts us or calls us names or when we think something is unfair. We talked about how anger makes us feel inside and how hard it is to stop feeling angry. Some of us thought at first, that is is wrong to feel angry, so we talked about how anger is a normal feeling, just ike any other feeling and that it is OK to feel angry, but is is not OK to hurt people or damage things when we feel angry. Here are a few of the things we decided we could do to let our anger out…