Healthy Schools is a national initiative to support young people to develop in a healthy and happy environment. It is an externally moderated award given to those schools who show they are meeting a range of criteria. The following aspects of the programme are relevant to Early Years provision:
- Healthy Eating includes healthy and nutritious foods being made in school canteens and available in schools as well as enabling young people to make informed decisions about healthy food.
- Physical Activity encourages young people to do physical activity as well as being given opportunities to be physically active. It helps understanding on how physical activity can make people healthier and can improve life as well as being part of it.
- Emotional Health and Well-being, including bullying, how to express feelings build confidence and emotional strength. It is the promotion of positive emotional health and well-being.
Marsh Hill Nursery School has been awarded the Healthy Schools Award and Be Healthy Schools’ Award which will be valid until February 2023
Marsh Hill Nursery School has undertaken a wide range of activities to embed and further promote the wellbeing of the entire school community. The areas of healthy eating and healthy lifestyles were developed through the work undertaken by Marsh Hill Nursery as part of the Health for Life programme.
In order to successfully qualify for the Be Healthy Schools’ Award, evidence was provided relating to the schools’ work addressing two core areas of development:
- Implementation of a wider, sustainable programme of PSHE Education
- Commitment to nurturing emotional health and wellbeing
The whole-school community has been involved in ensuring sustained commitment to wider PSHE and health initiatives, including through staff voice and parental voice opportunities. Staff feedback seems embedded through sharing of ideas in staff meetings, parents have opportunities to provide regular feedback including face to face sessions and questionnaires. Also there is use of parental workshops to share the ethos of the nursery school.
- Good parental links are established when children join the nursery and continued throughout their time there. There are many specific opportunities presented for parents to visit the nursery school to meet staff, learn about the curriculum and also to join in with activities to promote health in its widest sense, for example through Yoga Bugs sessions which focus on physical and mental wellbeing. This promotes healthy lifestyles and encourages open discussions about pupil (and parental) wellbeing. Relationships with the key worker feature strongly and enable an environment where each child is seen as an individual whose welfare is prioritised.
- A detailed understanding of the home environments of the children enables the curriculum to prioritise the importance of outdoor play (and not limiting this to only certain times of the day), which has both physical and mental health benefits.
- The curriculum enables regular slots for children to discuss and name their emotions.
- Children’s progress in all aspects of the curriculum is monitored and assessed using an online tool, which shows the nursery school is working to be in line with the guidelines for assessment under the statutory requirements for Relationships Education and Health Education from September 2020.
- Wellbeing concerns are recorded as safeguarding concerns, following local procedures and recorded on My Concern.
- There is commitment to putting well-being (both physical and mental) in a prominent place in the school curriculum and evidence is provided showing good links with external agencies to support vulnerable students.
- Policies often provide detailed support – for example in the anti-bullying policy it is excellent to see that restorative justice approaches are used and that there is recognition of how important it is to work in discussion with the “bully” as much as with the “victim” to amend and influence future behaviours, rather than just to sanction an existing situation.