Children's Mental Health Week

We round up a selection of trips which can instil happiness and teach children about wellbeing, supporting others and mental health.

This week (5th – 11th February) is Children’s Mental Health Week, a campaign run by Place2Be, a charity offering emotional support to children, which promotes awareness for those at risk of mental health issues and provides ways to help children deal with it.

The campaign, running across the UK all week, is supported by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge who helped launch this year’s initiative:

It is evident that outdoor learning and trips can promote wellbeing, enthusiasm and happiness in children. Elaine Skates, chief exectuive for the Council For Learning Outside the Classroom, commented: “Learning outside the classroom can offer an antidote to the pressures of school, as well as the time and space away from the school environment where pupils can discover skills, develop resilience & self-confidence  and where relationships can be transformed. CLOtC would urge Heads, SENCOs & PSHE leads to consider the role of LOtC in improving the mental health of their pupils.”

Here are some trips to help support mental health.

1. Take children into the countryside

Farms for City Children is an organisation which gets children living in urban cities out into the countryside. Farm houses schools can visit include Nethercott House, Wick Court and Lower Treginnis, during which they can enjoy a week of farm activities and work.

Mel Slater, education officer for Farms for City Children said a residential experience provided “holistic benefits for children in a setting refreshingly different from the classroom”, adding: “Through positive interactions and creating childhood memories, the learning through doing experience in the outdoor environment fosters social and emotional skills such as independence, resilience and confidence.”

Sacrewell Farm in Peterborough is another option for teachers looking to take their class to explore the outdoors. It offers Farm Camp, suitable for Key Stages 3 and 4, to give children the experience of being in the countryside.

2. Instilling teamwork with a residential

A residential is a fantastic way to encourage pupils to work in teams, become more responsible and support each other. They also teach children confidence and independence, as for some it will be the first time being away from their parents. Centres and organisations such as Kingswood, the Outward Bound Trust and YHA offer trips ideal for residentials. Learning Away’s Brilliant Residential campaign also promotes the importance of offering children these types of trips and the impact it has on them.

Learning Outside the Classroom

3. Trips for fun

Besides being educational, school travel must be fun. Getting hands-on with a workshop at an attraction will provide children with both entertainment and learning. For example, theme parks such as Paultons Park and Drayton Manor offer school sessions which can then be followed by time on the rides.

A visit to a zoo such as Twycross or ZSL Whipsnade helps pupils discover something different and can also be tied in with subjects such as Science and Geography. 

4. Allowing children to express themselves

Art, Music, Drama, Dance, Writing: these creative subjects are all excellent ways of getting children to express themselves. Trips themed around these subjects are becoming increasingly popular and for example, residentials themed on writing can be arranged with the charity Arvon. Music workshops such as those on offer at the Southbank Centre, The Royal Albert Hall and theatre productions like Wicked, Dreamgirls and Matilda are ideas for those who want a more physical activity such as a drama or dance workshop.

5. Eating well

By learning about cooking, pupils will become inspired to explore new foods and recipes which in turn will help promote a healthy lifestyle and diet. Pizza Express, for example, offers school workshops which involve making pizzas. The Tesco Eat Happy Project is another way of letting pupils discover more about where their food comes from. Even taking pupils to restaurants such as Rainforest Café and Planet Hollywood, which display memorabilia and animatronics, are ways to get pupils enthusiastic about a balanced diet.

If you’re looking for ideas for trips to teach children about being safe online and using technology wisely, you can read our recent article here

Video: Credit Place2Be.