Mental health and the joys and benefits of reading
As we approach half term, it is time to look forward with hope that school may be open for more pupils from Monday 8 March. We have had hopes raised and dashed in the past and so any planning and anticipation is tailored, as we expect the unexpected – but we remain optimistic.
As a staff we continuously reflect on the quality we are able to provide our Unicorn families. The quality of the academic education together with the quality of our pastoral provision and last week we have acknowledged mental health week. The two weeks before the February half term, in any normal year, are often more difficult weeks in the academic year. Christmas has passed, but winter is still here, and children start to tire after five or six weeks of the term. This year has only served to exacerbate this feeling and so our approach for this ‘mental health week’ was to allow us to acknowledge the fragility of our wellbeing. A highlight of the week were the children’s music lessons where they were able to express themselves by learning a particularly moving and poignant song, It’s OK if you’re not feeling OK.
The joys and benefits of reading
Soon after half term is World Book Day. Actually, at school we are going to be having more of a World Book week, than a World Book day, with various assemblies taking place, including linking up remotely to a number of different authors. Pandemic, or no pandemic, children should still be encouraged to read, out loud or silently, as much as possible. This is why we have allocated time, particularly in the infants, with the help of our Teaching Assistants, to hear readers, so that the children have this connection of reading with school, as well as the reading they do with you at home.
Although an English teacher, I have not stopped to think about all the benefits of regular reading for some time and so I looked them up this week. They come as no surprise, but regular reading helps: increase your vocabulary and comprehension, enables better writing skills, empowers you to empathise with other people, aids sleep, reduces stress, improves memory and is mentally stimulating. We know this already but, particularly at this time, it is worth considering these benefits, so over the next few weeks please support us in celebrating the gift of books, and reading for pleasure.