One million children worldwide learn coping skills for life thanks to London charity’s innovative mental health programme
Chris Bale, Director of Partnership for Children, said, “We are delighted to have reached the significant landmark of our first million children as good mental health is so important for children and adults in all societies.
One million children aged five to seven worldwide have learned resilience skills to cope with difficulties in life thanks to an innovative mental health promotion programme managed and run by an independent charity in south-west London. Zippy’s Friends, managed by Partnership for Children, runs in schools and kindergartens in 29 countries across Europe, Latin America, India and China. The programme has just reached its one millionth child in a classroom in São Paulo, Brazil, where the programme is known as Amigos do Zippy.
The charity has launched a website to celebrate this milestone at www.onemillionchildren.org.uk
“Just as we pay attention to our children’s physical health by encouraging them to eat well and to exercise, not because they are ill but because we want to promote their health, so Zippy’s Friends promotes children’s mental good health by teaching children skills for life in a positive and fun manner rather than treating mental ill health.” The story-based programme about a group of young friends and Zippy, a pet stick insect, consists of six four-part modules on the themes of Feelings, Communication, Relationships, Conflict resolution, Change and loss, and Coping. Children learn how to deal with everyday difficulties through a combination of activities, including drawing, storytelling, asking questions, sharing information and role play. Each of the 24 sessions builds on the ones before to build up the emotional wellbeing of children from all backgrounds and abilities. The co-operative nature of the programme means that less-able children can learn strategies from more able and articulate children.
Mr Bale said, “Given the increasing pressures
TrilbyTV inspires children to achieve life-long success at Stanhope School
Stanhope Primary School in South Shields has been using TrilbyTV as much more than a teaching aid in their school. It has been used as a tool to inspire their children to believe in themselves and the goals they want to achieve throughout life.
Set in a deprived part of the UK, Stanhope School has to work exceptionally hard to ensure each of their pupils:
• Has aspirational goals that they truly believe they can reach
• Understands that higher education isn’t closed off to them
• Considers a career in the professional world.
TrilbyTV is a simple to use video sharing app and online storage service that allows students to share video projects with each other and around their school, and has been used to encourage Stanhope School pupils to believe in their own ability and have confidence in themselves. Recently, Sunderland University organised an aspirational day where they worked with Year 5 children in Stanhope School. They organised a number of activities to demonstrate to the pupils that higher education really is an option and not beyond their wildest dreams. TrilbyTV was used during the day to film activities and then shared across the school to encourage pupils throughout the whole school.
John Vasey, Headteacher of Stanhope Primary commented, “This is an excellent demonstration of how we use TrilbyTV at Stanhope School. It has become an integral part of our curriculum and the teachers and pupils have embraced it with open arms. It’s so incredibly simple to use and so much fun – we all love it. It brings our school to life.”
In the past, any videos produced by the children have remained with their particular class. What TrilbyTV allows, is for pupils’ successes to be shared across the whole school. This has stimulated the younger children who are now really excited about moving up through the school as they can physically see the type of exciting projects they will be involved in as they get older.
John continued, “ We honestly believe this will ease the transition for pupils moving from the infants to the juniors, and rather than feel anxious and nervous about the move, they’re excited by the challenges to come.”
It’s not just the pupils who have been thrilled by what TrilbyTV can do, the parents have been extremely impressed too. Where they would usually sit with their backs to a blank screen whilst waiting to greet their children as they come out of school at the end of the day, they now watch the videos produced by their children. This has created a genuine interest in what their children are doing in the classroom and resulted
in parents becoming more engaged with each other as well as with the teachers. In some cases it has even helped to break the ice during parents’ evenings.
John continued, “Time is the most valuable commodity for a teacher, so any technology which is used in the school must be fast and simple. That is exactly what TrilbyTV is. The teachers love it – it doesn’t matter if they haven’t used it for a few months, it’s so intuitive and straightforward that we can create, upload and share videos very quickly and easily. Once the children have created a video, it is moderated by the teacher and then goes live on the screens for all to view. Staff really value it as a way to bring their subjects to life and enthuse even the most reluctant of pupils to get involved.” John concluded, “TrilbyTV has become a core part of our teaching environment. It is tremendous to see the children so excited about the work they are doing. To see their work on screen is delightful. As far as they are concerned they are on TV and it may as well be the BBC!”
that children and young people are facing today, it is crucial that children learn coping strategies to help them when they face crises in life. Learning resilience at a young age will have lifelong benefits for children during their lives and for society. A recent report for the Mayor of London said that problems resulting from poor mental health are costing the city of London a staggering £26bn a year, mainly in care costs and lost productivity.
“A report for the Department of Health three years ago on the economic benefits of promoting positive mental health also found that social and emotional learning programmes for children had a return on investment of just under £84 per £1 spent, and concluded, ‘There is a strong case that school-based social and emotional learning programmes are cost-saving for the public sector.’ “And last year a British Medical Association report said the early years of children’s lives provided a ‘unique opportunity’ to promote children’s resilience and wellbeing and that it was ‘crucial’ not to miss this opportunity. “We agree. Investing in mental health promotion will have real and tangible benefits for our children, our families and our society. We are delighted that Zippy’s Friends is playing its part in achieving this around the world and here in England.”
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