Growing together

With Children’s Mental Health Week nearly here, we wanted to suggest some ideas for this year’s theme, ‘Growing Together’, helping children to become increasingly emotionally literate and to recognise when someone is struggling. Using circle time or class discussion, invite students to reflect on the following.

circle time illustration

Primary

  • Have you grown taller in the past year or past few months? Name some of the ways you’ve grown stronger and faster. Can you think of ways in which you’ve grown kinder and more resilient? What has helped you? What prevents you growing in this way?
  • How have we grown together? As a class / school / within our friendships and work partners? Have you noticed any of your friends making an effort to grow their mindsets? Have you or your friends made an effort to connect with others, to help others out when they look like they need it? Do you notice when others look sad or worried? Could you do more?
  • Growing together can be a good strategy to help our mental health. Connecting with other people allows us to be supported when we need it. Having good relationships is key to staying mentally well. Could you do more to make friendships, to support others, to offer a helping hand or a listening ear? Would you say you are good at building relationships, what would help you to improve this part of your personality?

How would you like to grow together next? What would help you? 

  • Create a plan about what and how you’d like to grow together – maybe planning a buddy support group to help other children on the playground or thinking about how you could grow your friendship with another person, how you could offer support to others when they need it? We all grow stronger when we work with others to create something we are proud of.
illustration of children talking

Secondary

Reflect on a character from a story or film who has grown emotionally. How did the character grow their mindset or approach? What support did they have? Choose a character from a film, game, book, or play who has helped you to grow emotionally, either because they have taught you something or demonstrated some behaviours that inspired you, helped you to see the world differently. Share this with a friend and find out which character they would choose. Maybe do this in a group.

Consider how the phrase ‘Growing Together’ could be applied in ways to help our mental health. For example, the benefits of growing as a sports team or a musical team, like a choir or orchestra; or literally growing together by planting trees to improve the environment. How realistic is it to grow together when we’re all different and individual? Is it important to grow together and in what circumstances?

Reflect on the different ways you have grown emotionally during the last year or few months – what have you learned from the pandemic? Did your experience change anything about the way you think or act now? Would you say you value friendships/relationships more than you did before, for example? If you felt lonely or fed up, what or who helped you to feel better? In which ways might it help you to consider connecting and growing together, for the sake of your mental health, going forward. Give yourself some targets and make a plan!

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