The encouragement of creativity from an early age is one of the best guarantees of growth in a healthy environment of self-esteem and mutual respect - critical ingredients for building a culture of peace. UNESCO.
Over the past week, schools, youth groups and individuals across the country have taken part in activities to promote Children’s Mental Health Week. Our theme at Gateway, both in school and remotely, has been ‘Express Yourself’ and we have encouraged the children in our school community to think about who they are, how they see the world and how to feel good about themselves, by being creative. The emphasis hasn’t been on being the best at something or putting on a performance for others, but more about enjoying getting involved in things that they really love doing. The children have enjoyed taking part in an extensive programme of activities including assemblies, creating an Express Yourself postcard, taking part in the Gateway’s Gift to Good Mental Health Challenge, and an Express Yourself dress up day, which was held today. I’m sure as parents, you will find the Mental Health and Mindfulness evening webinar session next Tuesday evening both informative and beneficial too.
As a school community, one of our primary aims is to develop our children into becoming happy, confident, well-adjusted citizens. Being creative is a way for children to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas, and art, music, writing and poetry, dance and drama in particular are the perfect vehicles for promoting this.
During Music this week, Year 6 listened to and appraised the song ‘Happy’ by Pharrell Williams. As well as performing extracts of the song, we discussed what the song represents, how it makes us feel when we listen to it, and which elements of the music create that mood. In English, Year 5 read poems written about Lockdown, such as ‘Wishes’ and ‘I didn’t know I’d miss’ by Pie Corbett. The children went on to create their own poems, short stories and letters to express something that they have felt themselves during Lockdown. Some of their ideas were really poignant and reflective of their experiences, such as this extract of a poem composed by Rufus:
There is light at the end of the tunnel,
That many of us can see,
We all need to get together,
No one should feel lonely.
Three national lockdowns for the nation,
People sitting at home
Trying to find some inspiration,
We’ll all be happy when this is done,
But right now togetherness is second to none.
Dance is a natural form of self-expression where human movement becomes the medium for sensing, understanding, and communicating ideas, feelings, and experiences and the children had enormous fun today, demonstrating their dance moves in the disco dance challenge led by Miss Gallop.
Creativity fosters mental growth in children by providing opportunities for trying out new ideas, new ways of thinking and problem-solving - all of the examples above demonstrate this.The creative skills children develop carry them towards new experiences and new challenges, as well as offering personal satisfaction and developing self-esteem, which, in the current climate is paramount to their mental health, growth and development.
I wish you a restful weekend.