The main focus of this unit is on the importance of being kind to ourselves and others. It is always lovely to be on the receiving end of a thank you or a kind act but research has found that kindness benefits the giver as well as the receiver. It can improve the immune system, extend our life span and make us happier. When we are kind, it strengthens our connections with others. Sadly, when we are not treated kindly or are isolated from others this can have a detrimental impact on our wellbeing. The brain responds to social rejection as it would an actual physical injury and explains why being bullied or left out can feel so devastating. It is important to know how to make amends when we are unkind. Interestingly, one of the hardest people to be kind to, is often ourselves and yet, self-compassion is associated with enhanced motivation, better ability to cope with difficulties, greater wellbeing and reduced anxiety and depression. Self-compassion entails being warm and understanding towards ourselves when we suffer, like we would a friend, rather than beating ourselves up with harsh self-criticism. It is about acknowledging that no-one is perfect and recognising that we are not alone and all humans have shortcomings, make mistakes or experience setbacks.
Key messages to communicate
1. Kindness makes a difference to ourselves and others.
This section introduces the children to a concept called ‘Bucket Filling’ based around a book called ‘Have you filled a bucket today?’ by Carol McCloud. It is an easy-to-understand concept. Everyone carries an invisible bucket that fills up whenever we do planned or random kind, considerate, helpful things for ourselves or others (bucket fillers).
2. Being unkind hurts others and it hurts us too
When we say things that are mean, inconsiderate, uncaring, or disrespectful to ourselves or others this has a negative impact and gradually empties our buckets (bucket dippers). This section explores how when we hurt others what we can do to make amends and restore trust and balance in a relationship.
3. It is important to be kind to yourself
This section will help children explore self-compassion. That when things do not go as planned, or we make a mistake or are suffering, that we need to talk to and treat ourselves with the same kindness that we might show a friend rather than with harsh self-judgement. Children need to learn that this is a much more motivating way to get back on our feet and remind themselves that they are part of a big world of imperfect humans and are not alone.
Unit 7 Make a Difference
The focus of this unit is on the importance of contributing in big and small ways to make
a difference to individuals, our community and our world. Research has found that
engaging in activities which are meaningful and altruistic leads to greater enjoyment of
things you do, feelings of happiness, a sense of hope for the future and Increased
physical and mental wellbeing. Studies are finding that when we shift our focus from
‘Me’ to ‘We’ and connect to something bigger to find meaning and purpose, we are
not only happier but experience less stress, anxiety and depression.
It is important for children to understand that, whilst many of the issues in the world can feel very big, even small things can make a positive difference and be hugely meaningful for those that are involved.
Key Messages to Communicate
1. Things humans do have an impact on the world
To become active citizens and effective contributors, children need to learn that their
actions can potentially have a positive and negative impact on the world. By
encouraging children to understand some of the issues that are affecting people and the world globally such as inequality, poverty, human rights to the environment,
technology and animal welfare they can also be supported to begin to make the links
between how personal decisions and actions, for example consumption and
consumerism, can have ramifications for others across the world.
2. Children can contribute to solving problems in the world
Pupils will be encouraged to find examples of where children themselves have been
extremely effective contributors to positive action and change. These children were
motivated by feeling passionate about a particular issue that affected them, their
community and/or the world. With self-belief, the right plan and support children can
challenge the status quo and make a difference which will in turn contribute to their
sense of meaning and purpose in life.
3. Smalls things can make a meaningful difference
Sometimes we need to start somewhere. Pupils will be asked to think about the things
they care about, whether it be the environment, a social issue or a something in the local
community, that they would like to change. They will then be supported and
encouraged to come up with a personal and class plan for what they would like to do
to make a positive difference to a cause they care about.
Unit 6 Get Active
Unit 6 – Get Active
The main focus of this unit is on building understanding of how keeping physically active can also help to contribute to our mental health. Exercise releases endorphins and
dopamine – brain chemicals that affect our mood and make us feel happier. It brings
down high levels of stress chemicals such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Some scientific studies have shown that regular exercise can be as effective as anti‐depressant medication in treating mild to moderate depression, but also that it could help protect people against experiencing depression in the first place.
One study showed that the effects of exercise and activity on mental health were enhanced if taking place outside in green space.
Activities that can contribute to your mental health go beyond just physical
exercise and can encompass a wide range of hobbies, interests and passions. Research
has found that doing things you enjoy, are passionate about or are good at gives you a
sense of achievement, meaning and fulfilment which also contribute to your well being.
1.Being active is not only good for the body but also for the mind
In this section, pupils are encouraged to explore how our body and our mind are
connected. That being active can help us feel better as well as being good for our
physical health. We don’t all need to run marathons – there are simple things we can all do to be more active each day. And we can also boost our well-being by unplugging from
technology, getting outside and – importantly – making sure we get enough sleep! It is
important to explore how sometimes when we lack the energy and do not feel like being
active, this is the very thing that can increase our mood and motivation again.
2. I have a range of hobbies and interests that I enjoy doing
In this section, pupils will explore what passions, hobbies and interests they have that they enjoy and give them a sense of achievement. Doing something you enjoy can improve your confidence and help you stay well so it is important to make time to do things you like, whether it’s reading, singing, drama, music or playing with friends. These activities can help keep our batteries topped up and give us opportunities to have fun and deal with any difficult emotions in a positive way
3. Doing anything new involves taking a risk
Finding something we enjoy will always involve taking a risk as we challenge ourselves to try new things. Encouraging pupils to take a risk by challenging themselves to try new
activities, skills, hobbies or experiences will help build their confidence to tackle future
ones. It also is a platform for helping to demonstrate how our brains grow and change
whenever we do different things (and this continues throughout life – so it’s never too late to learn something new!)