School Leaders' Weekly
Last week, the children had a whale of a time celebrating Children’s Day with a carnival of healthy sports activities specially arranged by the SVPA and the school, like mass martial art, water soccer, inflatable obstacle challenge, bowling, archery, tchoukball and foosball. We hope our P6 children, who had just completed their PSLE the day before, will cherish the moments and remember their childhood days before entering secondary school. We have captured some of their actions in the photographs below.
We would like to thank the SVPA who spent months coordinating the Children’s Day celebrations together with the teachers, all parent volunteers who took time off to support the Children’s Day celebrations and all staff who made the event a success. The children expressed happiness and joy in participating in the activities and the gifts by the parents and the school. We hope that the children will appreciate the gifts. We were heartened to see some of our children In going up to their form teachers on Monday to thank them personally for the Children’s Day gifts.
World Mental Health Day
How do we know we have a happy child? What makes children happy? What makes them sad? What troubles them? Why do some things affect them more than others? These are difficult questions to respond to as all children are different.
10 October is World Mental Health Day. This is a day which was introduced to raise awareness on mental health issues and promote positive mental well-being. Sometimes we see our children happy one minute and sad in another. They may be going through these mood swings as they are experiencing feelings of anxiety, stress, uneasiness, and self-consciousness. Due to their young age, these emotions may be overwhelming for some of them. Some of these negative feelings can occur due to many reasons. For example, high levels of pressure, unrealistic expectations, and conflicts with peers, even the feeling to always be connected to the virtual world and garnering the number of likes on their social media can also lead to additional pressure.
Primary school children may find it difficult to come forward and seek help when they are feeling down, which makes it important to teach them how to look out for one another, by learning about possible signs of distress. Children are happy in school if they love their teacher, enjoy friendships, and can manage the conflicts that are common between children. At home, we see them enjoying spending time with family and loved ones and take part in activities which sparks joy within them. We hope to encourage our children to be aware of their emotions and find ways to cope with their unpleasant feelings.
Children learn from what they see better than from what they are told. There is little use in telling them to “look on the bright side” if the adults complain about life, work or certain people every day. In school, we make it a habit to talk about the upside of unfortunate events and also talk about what we are grateful for.
Having a positive relationship with our children allows us to easily observe their emotions and for them to feel safe to share their feelings with us. If we want to empower our children to work through their worries, it is important for us to acknowledge our children’s emotions and help them learn a variety of coping skills. Some ways of coping with feelings that we can share with our children include:
- Taking a deep breath when overwhelmed with emotions. Your children can tell you about the breathing exercise that they will do after their recess. We have observed how some of our P6 children used this strategy effectively to calm their mind before sitting for their PSLE papers.
- Listening to music to reduce anxiety
- Write or draw it out
- Talking to a family member, friend or teacher to share feelings
- Having a growth mindset that we can overcome our problems with good strategies
- SMILE (we are all capable of and it’s totally free!)
In his TED Talk, “The Hidden Power of Smiling,” Ron Gutman reminded us that we all have the power to make ourselves, and others, feel better whenever we want to. “Whenever you want to tap into a superpower that can make you and everyone around you feel better, Smile,” he says. A smile conveys feelings of happiness, hope and positivity to anyone who sees it. Of course there is also the power a smile has when shared with others. It is really remarkable how we can turn someone’s whole day around with just a smile. A smile makes those around us feel welcome, accepted, wanted. I make it a habit to start my day in school with greeting our children along the way to the hall for the morning assembly with a smile and small talks. In response, the children become more forthcoming in the greeting, flashing their brightest smile and at times, sharing events that happened to them. We would like to encourage our children, parents and staff with a poem from the late Spike Milligan on smiling. SMILE
So let us all begin each day with a big bright SMILE!