Nursery's grant to boost children's wellbeing and mental health

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A nursery in St Albans has treated its children to a newly developed sensory room and bespoke wellbeing activities as part of Feeling Good Week.

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Ladybirds Nursery in St Albans used some of the grant for glowing lights in teh sensory room

Feeling Good Week is an annual Hertfordshire wide event and runs in nurseries, schools, children’s centres and other community organisations.

One of its aims is to increase resilience in children and young people by telling them about the importance of their emotional and mental health, empowering them to know who to ask for help if and when it is needed, and to enable them to develop positive coping strategies to deal with life events.

It is an opportunity to promote emotional wellbeing, raise awareness of mental ill health and reduce stigma in order to enable children and young people to access emotional support within the local community if it is needed.  

Ladybirds Nursery St Albans bid for a share of the £20,000 Feeling Good Week 2017 funding pot, provided by East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Herts Valleys CCG and Hertfordshire County Council.

Grants had to go towards a project with the aim to improve emotional, mental or physical health or general wellbeing for children and young people during Feeling Good Week, which starts on 18 February.

‘We had to come up with a project and explain how we are going to create a fun, enriching and motivating environment with the money we received to help create a positive mental attitude from the early years onwards,’ nursery manager Michelle Gee said.

The nursery used the £450 grant to invest in a variety of visual, physical and sensory stimuli, including mirrored floors, a selection of natural scents, two large balls, glowing caterpillars, disco lights, classical music CD’s and texture boxes in which the children can either touch or see different materials and lights. These are changing throughout the week to give children an even stronger sensory experience.

‘The reasoning behind our sensory room is to encourage the younger children to learn that they are separate beings and recognise their own reflections, in turn exploring with a variety of senses. Through the variety of experiences we were hoping to offer, the impact of  Feeling Good Week will be that children are supported and feel comfortable in recognising  their own accomplishments, individualities and have a positive sense of self. They will have a better understanding of why it is important to respect themselves and others for who they are,’ Ms Gee said.

Older children had a visit from a storyteller, who spent 45 minutes encouraging them to act out and join in a story about a shooting star learning to shine.  

‘The children were encouraged to explore feeling happy, sad, shy and quiet and how to be confident in their own individual way. They then completed worksheets about how they have “been a star” today throughout the week and reflected on their positive experiences,’ nursery deputy manager Becky Mostyn added.

Previous successful applicants have put on healthy eating projects, sensory rooms, creative workshops, yoga and mindfulness sessions, first aid training for children and circus classes.

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