The week of 7 – 13 February was a special occasion at The British School in The Netherlands (BSN). Not only did we celebrate Children’s Mental Health Week, but it also marked the first time we celebrated it as a collaborative, cross-campus event.
This year’s theme was ‘Growing Together’ - but what do we mean by this?
“Growing Together is about growing emotionally & finding ways to help each other grow.”
“Challenges & setbacks can help us to grow & adapt & trying new things can help us to move beyond our comfort zone into a new realm of possibility and potential. However, emotional growth is often a gradual process that happens over time, and sometimes we might feel a bit ‘stuck’.”
-Place2Be, Children's Mental Health Charity
Why Celebrate Children's Mental Health Week?
Children’s Mental Health Week is celebrated in schools to help raise awareness of the importance of children’s mental health. Throughout the week, students are reminded of the fact that taking care of our mental health is just as important as our physical health, and we touch on tools and strategies they can implement to support this. Acknowledging and celebrating Children’s Mental Health Week underpins the important work our cross-campus Wellbeing Team working group are doing on helping students in this area by embedding wellbeing in the curriculum.
'Planting' Our Growth Tree
Students at Junior School Diamanthorst created a beautiful Tree of Growth in the Library by each writing how they hope to grow on a leaf to hang them from the tree. It serves as a colourful memento of the week’s events and a daily reminder of students’ hopes for the future.
Students also had the opportunity to lead lunchtime wellbeing workshops for their peers: what are some of the ways we can look after our mental health? Activities included dancing, sports and cartoon drawing - all of which have numerous proven wellbeing benefits!
A Symbolic Reminder of our Journey
Did you know that several of our Leidschenveen-based students have been with us since Foundation Stage, going all the way through to Year 6 at Junior School Leidschenveen, and are now Senior School students? To celebrate their journey and progress, these students planted an elm tree in the centre of the Leidschenveen campus grounds together, a symbolic reminder of their growth. A green leafy reminder that will be a part of the school grounds for years to come.
Other activities at Junior School Leidschenveen included ‘Passion Panels’ – displays of our favourite hobbies (Year 6), learning all about the benefits of affirmations and positive self-talk (Year 1) and creating pyramids of emotional support (Year 2) – what helps us when we need more self-care?
Growing Our Minds & Hearts, One Leaf at a Time
Foundation Stage students at Junior School Vlaskamp planted a buddleia, or Butterfly Bush, with the help of older students as a symbol of ‘Growing Together’. We can’t wait to see the butterflies that it attracts and its beautiful purple blossoms this summer and for many summers to come!
Students also reflected on how they aim to grow their minds and hearts and live meaningful, fulfilling lives – ‘one leaf at a time’. The students shared their hopes for growth in their own vibrant, eye-catching Wellbeing Tree display.
Discovering New Ways to Enhance Our Wellbeing
In addition to planting an elm tree together with Junior School Leidschenveen students, Senior School Leidschenveen students also had the opportunity to discover new and fun wellbeing activities to try at home. During lunchtime workshops, they enjoyed jigsaw puzzles, laughter yoga, origami, tai chi, macrame, haka, creating zen tangle bookmarks, and more!
Growing Together: a Long-Term Goal
During House Tutor Time, Senior School Voorschoten students created an incredible tree display for everyone – both students and staff – to contribute a leaf to. On the leaves, they wrote both a goal for a new skill and a goal for emotional growth. It’s exciting to think about where we could be when we reflect on those goals in a year’s time!
The Wellbeing Team and Eco-team also planted a tree together to symbolise that Growing Together is a long-term aim and not just a week-long initiative.
The week also saw some student-led wellbeing initiatives. Their charity bake sale with delicious homemade cupcakes was a firm favourite! Students were encouraged to buy a sweet treat to gift to someone else as a token of their appreciation – with all proceeds going directly to charities supported by the school.
A huge thank you to our cross-campus Wellbeing Team working group who led on the week’s events and all the outstanding teaching and support staff who collaborated to make the week a success and highlight this incredibly important and topical theme.
View more of the week's highlights below: