Amber Flag – Wellbeing
We have been awarded our Amber Flag! ⭐⭐⭐
Our staff and children really enjoyed taking part in The Amber Flag initiative. The Amber Flag is an initiative run by Pieta House which recognises the individual efforts of primary and secondary schools, youth reach, third level institutions, community groups, clubs and companies to create healthy, inclusive environments that support mental wellbeing.
As part of this initiative and to promote pupil voice in wellbeing journey as a school, we
set up a student wellbeing committee. The Wellbeing Committee work together to help promote positive mental health in our school and help us to think of ways to enhance wellbeing amongst our students. Their job was also be to share our wellbeing focus
with each class every month.
Our wonderful Student Wellbeing Committee linked in with classes across the school to look at what is going well in our school to enhance pupil wellbeing and what we could work on to improve our overall wellbeing; we will be working on these targets throughout the year.
What we enjoyed most about taking part in the Amber Flag Process
We really valued the meaningful opportunity to reflect on wellbeing in our school. When the committee started discussing what our school was already doing, we were pleased that the list was quite long. The process of completing the audit was wonderful to highlight what we were already doing well, what we could improve upon and what we could introduce. We really enjoyed meeting as a committee to come up with ways to enhance our school’s wellbeing. It was a great opportunity to get feedback from the whole school community, not only on what was going, but gathering ideas on what pupils’ felt could further enhance wellbeing.
The activities below outline some of the initiatives that we have established throughout this school year and others that we already have in place and have improved upon in order to help promote Positive Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Activities & Initiatives already in place
Termly Yard Discos: promotes fun-filled atmosphere and lots of activity
Friday Run Each Friday at lunch time, two teachers lead a run around the school for children from 1st-6th class. Children love the run and there’s a huge uptake each Friday. The run highlights how exercise can be used to enhance wellbeing and boost our energy levels.
Active School Flag We have an active school committee who plan and organise ways to make our school a more active place. Being active is an important indicator of our wellbeing and pupil feedback reflects this. We have an Active School Week each year, during which there is an extra emphasis on different fun physical activities. Yard games are organised as part of this initiative which are organised and led by pupils each day.
Wellbeing Website with lots of resources and ideas to support wellbeing
Wellbeing newsletters Regular wellbeing newsletters
Wellbeing practices in the classroom such as mindfulness, yoga and affirmations carried out informally by class teachers who are passionate about wellbeing practices.
Student Council Supports pupil wellbeing by helping to support an inclusive environment where all students feel welcome and valued, and every student voice is heard.
Our Goals for this Year
Goal 1: Embed Wellbeing Week to encourage mental health awareness to include a fun-filled fundraising event for Pieta House. We had a different focus each day for Wellbeing Week; Mindful Monday, Thoughtful Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Thoughtful Thursday & Friendship Friday!
As part of our Wellbeing Week, we only had wellbeing homework and we had a whole school PJ Day to raise money for Pieta House and Educate Together. We we delighted to raise €730! Pupils loved wearing their favourite cozy pjs for the day and there was a wonderful atmosphere of cheerfulness and positivity.
Goal 2: We have a Wellbeing focus each month to promote wellbeing in school & give pupils an opportunity to try out different mindful practices so as to encourage them to use them at home too. Plan devised with wellbeing committee at the start of the year, along with suitable resources. Students on Wellbeing Committee lead promotion of Wellbeing Focus each month. Some examples: Affirmations/Kindness/Yoga/Gratitude/Meditation/Mindful Minutes. Our Wellbeing focus is also incorporated into monthly assembly.
Some photos following this:
Goal 3: Promotion of restorative practises across the school to further support & enhance pupil wellbeing. Restorative Practice page created on website to share goals & work with parents. Posters in each class, all staff use restorative practice questions in dealing with conflict which arises between pupils & in supporting pupils to develop & maintain positive relationships and in turn to promote pupil wellbeing. Restorative circles take place in each classroom each week to build positive pupil relationships, crate a community spirit & enhance pupil wellbeing. We plan to continue building restorative practices in school which have successfully enhanced pupil wellbeing.
Goal 4: Weaving Wellbeing Programme rolled out across the school – each class worked on Weaving Wellbeing workbooks which focused on a different theme in each lesson. Pupil feedback here:
“It helps me when I’m sad to think of happy things.” Lia
“I like when we do our big breaths because it relaxes me.” Ailbhe
‘Drawing in the workbook makes me feel happy. Doing the lessons makes me feel happy and calm.’ Rachel
‘If you have big feelings talk to your family about it.’ Sadie
‘I like the stories and songs and poems.’ Daniel
Senan “I liked noticing things that I am thankful for.”
Iomhar “I liked sprinkling kindness.”
Annabelle “I learned how to tame my big feels.”
Tymon “I like to use chill and spill to take my big feelings”.
Pippa ‘It helps me to remember to do some breathing when I feel a big feeling I don’t like.’
Ellen: ‘I like doing the chill & spill when I feel a little stressed out.‘
‘’It helps you express your feelings.’’ William
‘It’s fun!’ Malcolm!
‘It’s makes you think about stuff for yourself.’ Matilda N.
‘It’s gives you confidence.’ Lucia
‘It teaches you to respect people.’ Finn
‘I’ve learned a lot about my energy and how to calm myself down.” – Sofia
“I like learning about calmness.” – Sally
“I liked learning about the character strengths because it helped me realise what I’m able to do.” Ruby
“I liked doing the treasure box.” Isabelle
“I like it because I could stop stressing about things and we study all the things we can be.” Levi
‘The activities calm me down.’ Gil
‘Weaving well-being is all about feeling positive and happy. It sometimes takes practice to fill your positive emotion potion.’ Faye
‘Weaving well-being is fun because it helps me get through tough times and big emotions.’ Marla
Kyle : “I think W.W. is helpful for ourselves and it helps us be helpful to others.“
Séan : “I learned that lots of bad things don’t have to be bad. It’s all about perspective.”
Isabel : “I enjoy doing it because it makes me feel good about myself.”
Emma B. : “I learned that when you worry you aren’t on your own.”
Ivy : “I learned that it’s okay to feel every emotion nearly every day.”
Elsa: ‘Weaving Wellbeing taught me to love myself, to remember to take time to breathe and then come back to my work.’
Lily: ‘I like mindfulness because I know that when I feel upset instead of shouting or giving out, I know how to switch to flower level and calm myself down.’
Fred: ‘I use the lucky dip of distractions when I can’t sleep at night.’
James: ‘I like the character strengths because they make you think about good things about yourself.’
Ellen: ‘I like mindfulness. It helps me to focus on the good things in life rather than focusing on my problems or worries’
Rosie: ‘Resilience Tree taught me to remember to look at the positive things in life instead of the negative and that everything would be okay.’
‘Weaving wellbeing helped me especially the part about finding win win solutions to problems.’
‘I enjoyed learning about active listening. It helps me focus when someone else is talking to me.’ Elizabeth
‘I learnt that forgiving people doesn’t just help others it helps me too.’ Isabelle
‘Win-Win has helped me to resolve and prevent conflict and arguments.’
‘The learning to forgive lesson helped me to forgive myself when I make a mistake in sport.’ Eamon
‘It’s great to be able to relax between lessons.’ Eliza
‘It helps me to feel more awake and relaxed.’ Tensaye
Goal 5: Set up our outdoor classroom. Thanks to Sorcha & Dee, we are so lucky to have a wonderful outdoor area we can use for wellbeing activities as well as our curricular work! 🙂
Some photos of classes use this fabulous area below:
Goal 6: Create an Amber Flag notice board in school, as well as affirmations and wellbeing displays around the school to promote positive mental health strategies. We plan to build on this display and change display regularly in collaboration with wellbeing committee.
What we learned from taking part in the Amber Flag
It was a very worthwhile process. It highlighted the importance of getting the whole school community involved in our wellbeing journey. Pupils loved being asked their opinion from the wellbeing reps on ways to enhance and support wellbeing and the whole process really highlighted the value of embedding wellbeing practices, reflecting on our practises and making the necessary changes to further enhance wellbeing.