We are all becoming increasingly aware of the precarious situation of our children’s mental health. Childhood can be a stressful time and one of the most pressured periods is transition – the ‘perfect storm’ of changes that occur around ages 10 – 14.
During this time many elements combine to form a maelstrom of change:
- The move from the often more nurturing atmosphere of primary school to secondary schools where suddenly children are little fish in a big pond
- The pressure of SATs, 11+ or other school exams
- The onset of puberty
- Changes in peer groups
- The influence of social media, online gaming and mobile technology
- Other statistically common changes to the world of 11-14 year-olds include parents’ divorcing and house moves (ironically getting into a better school is a common reason for the move).
What can we do to help? Well, the research suggests there is a need to help children develop their social and personal skills (friendships, self-esteem and confidence) and this needs to be taken into account when planning transition strategies at Local Authority and school levels. Prevention and intervention during this period are also key because we know that mental health problems most commonly start during adolescence.
These factors have led MiSP to develop a new curriculum and training course with transition in mind: Teach .breathe – An Introduction To Mindfulness & How It Can Help With School Transition is a one-day course that introduces participants to mindfulness, the science behind it, how it can support individuals in schools to enhance their wellbeing and, more specifically, how it can be used to support children and young people facing school transition.
Participants will be also be trained to deliver .breathe, our four lesson curriculum for 10-14 year olds. The four .breathe lessons explore working with a wandering mind, why we worry, and how to support ourselves when we do so, the importance of sleep, what to do if we struggle to sleep and the opportunities and challenges of working with friendships and other relationships.
Our hope is that our support at this important time will make a difference that children will feel for years to come, perhaps for their whole life.