Child Mental Health


Being kind to others makes us feel good – should be promoted in classrooms – Small acts of kindness 

Aspects from today’s society that could impact children’s mental health:

  • family breakdown
  • pressure to have access to money and perfect lifestyle
  • materialist culture influences young people
  • social networking
  • body image source of distress
  • bulling/cyber bullying
  • sexual pressures
  • violence in many countries
  • exams

Mental health impacts many areas of children’s development – good mental health could support: enjoyment, deal with stress, learn better, navigate the online world and create new friendships/experiences

1/10 children in a classroom will have negative mental health – therefore teachers need to be aware of this so can support the child

Risk Factors (Public health England, 2016:5) mental-health-2









There are many factors that could impact children’s mental health and a vital area for teachers to focus their attention to is the school category 

Only 25% of children are treated for mental health are, 60% of children who are looked after have a form of emotional or mental health issues therefore early intervention and plans are needed to support the children. 



There are many ways that teachers can impact children mental health and the main aspect is resilience and the adjoining image shows ways which could support

DfE 2014 – Guidance relating to children mental health – because there are broad areas of need to support children

Currently a large influence via the Government to support mental health at a younger age – increase funding and focus. BBC

Early Intervention is key to support mental health so then people can act accordingly.

Everton – TacklingBlues :

A community based approach which supports children with Mental health and incorporates sports and also focused groups – based in schools 6-16yrs

One method used by blues is ’emoji bingo’ – opens discussion based around the chosen emoji’s – can be used as a form of assessment to identify what children are feeling over periods of time and to see improvements/areas for concern

Another way is asking children to identify what makes them feel certain ways (inside the Pepsi bottle) the bottle is then shaken and the children identify what emotions come from the areas inside – then the bottle is opened and the children identify the link between what is inside the bottle and what stems from this

Worry boxes are an ideal approach to support children in decreasing emotional and mental health illnesses as it will support children in speaking about their problems so support can then be put into place.

Following this information, in a seminar, we discussed specific areas where mental health occurs in children and how this could impact children’s education. The group I engaged with discovered the following:


On some occasions it is difficult to identify how to help children, in particular when children are facing bereavements or moving home/school.

  • Small acts of kindness could make a difference within children from peers or adults.
  • Schools have an important role when supporting children in this area.


I believe that mental health in children should be an aspect that is thought off vastly in schools because if it is ignored the implications could affect children’s development in many areas. Based on my professional development I would like to develop some ideas/practices that could support children with mental health illnesses.







It is an opportunity to expand and improve your teaching

  • Immersion-  put children in a classroom that has full English speakers 
  • Bilingualism – the child is taught in their home language and withdrawn from a classroom.

Learn how much children know in their home language to assess and plan to teach in another language. 

Encourage children to become multi-lingual – do not learn English to only then speak this, learn so children can speak their home language AND English 


  • Simultaneous bilingualism – two or more languages are acquired before the age of three
  • Successive of sequential bilingualism – one language is established, a second is learned later
  • Additive bilingualism – the first language and culture associated with it continue to be developed and valued
  • Subtractive bilingualism – the second language is added at the expense of the first

Assess the child to identify what way they should/need be taught – immersion or scaffold their learning (bilingualism) – support them or presuming they are to be taught in an only english speaking environment  (immersion) 

  • Vocab is a key aspect which supports reading and english learning
  •  EAL children may have less vocab  
  • collocations ( words which are used in different ways to their meaning – dead body/ dead heavy ) may cause confusion in children. 

What stages are children at in their home language and new one and can they access the curriculum – questions to ask yourself when have EAL children.

Need to understand children’s background to ensure other needs (emotional + relationships) – to identify if need extra help – if children are refugees/migrants – be mindful of this 

Need to take into account a child’s background – refugees/migrants/all children in your environment – INCLUSION 

  • Teaching and learning about how to teach EAL will support other children in the same environment 
  • EAL children should not be put into low ability as their abilities may be different in their home language – middle ability to support all of their needs 
  • EAL is NOT problematic 
  • Not SEN it is additional needs 

Resources are beneficial when teaching EAL children – for example dual language book/schemes. 

EAL classroom video

Through the video I identified : Practical strategies that teacher usereasoning why practice is beneficial 

  • speech activities
  • mixed ability learningother children can support and share knowledge with EAL children
  • talk partners – similar to above reasoning 
  • one to one support 
  • drama – role play/hot seating 
  • talk for writingcan express their ideas through language and practice this
  • vocab, connective openers, punctuation 
  • gamesfun for children so may not identify they are not learning 
  • music 
  • timetabled time for this areaensuring development in this area is not forgotten. 
  • Modellingideal practice so children have a source to follow and see first hand how language used

Ways to support EAL linking school and home

  • Translate policies to parents so they still benefit from this documentation
  • invite to family groups and events so they can meet other who speak the same language
  • teachers practice the home language of these children 
  • Parents evenings with children present and provide longer time slots for this as communication may take longer 
  • celebrate the cultures of the children and religions – share experiences to show interest 

Many Key documents and legislation that relates to EAL 

All schools should have an EAL policy – these are generic and customised by schools – these policies should set out strategies for assessment/teaching/staff/resources

Following this I have reflected on the information obtained and I would like to set myself a target regarding this area. I would like to work alongside a child with EAL and observe the strategies that are used to support this child. I would also like to analyse and EAL policy to identify how schools write these and implement them.




Race, Ethnicity and Education

Deficit theory argues that students who differ from the norm in a significant way should be considered different

BME (Black Minority Ethnic) – non-white communities in UK 

David Harewood Documentary – “Will Britain ever have a black President?”

  • 45% of Afro-Caribbean children grow up in poverty – 25% white children.
  • By the age of 5 those children identified above will be one year behind their wealthy counterparts in terms of their vocabulary – position of deficit.
  • Children who are Black will work twice as hard because education is seen as an escape route – away from poverty and not in a disadvantages (Burgees, 2013) 
  • Black children are underachieving in primary school and there is a decline in KS2 (statistics from documentary)




How we respond to our opinions and discussions regarding race, ethnicity and cultural diversity we show our own position. Position determined by our own race. Our positionality can be influenced by others. 

Firstly acknowledge out own race to then determine how we express our views and actions regarding this area. 

Unconscious bias – stereotypes can influence this and we can have an opinion unknowingly due to believing this information. This can then influence racism and could be highly resistant to change. 

We can gravitate to people who are like ourselves and this forms opinions.


…is Manifestation of hatred towards someone who has different characteristics to our own (Todorow, 2009)

  • Institutional racism failure of an organisation to provide appropriate and professional service for people who are deemed different due to their characteristics – BME 
  • We have to acknowledge racism and institutional racism to change the procedures around this for example practice/policy. 

What can you do as a teacher/educator?

  • Cannot assess through looking at a collection of people because you cannot identify if someone is from a BME background. 
  • get to know children on a personal basis – meeting their individual needs 
  • talk about families with pupils 
  • Deal with incidents because we have a duty to acknowledge and deal with this 
  • acknowledge children’s awareness of racism in the community – PSHE/ the news 
  • Follow ‘race equality policy’ all schools should have one 
  • Behaviour policy to also be followed in regards to bullying as this policy and the above work collaboratively. 
  • recognise when yours or other comments are racist or not


Pyramid of hate 



Criminal – first 2



Civil – middle 



Non-criminal incident – bottom 2 





Dealing with Racism in Schools 

  • SRTRC (2011) say…
  • some teacher struggle to do this as they are unaware of how to do this 
  • reporting criminal offences was seen as unintentional 
  • alternative measures and opinions regarding the definition and classification of levels of racism

Racism incident is… 

any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.’

When a racism incident is seen the following should be done…

  • Record the incident using forms which should be within the educational setting – linking to policies and procedures. 
  • the reporting forms are sent to the local authority and collated 


All schools will be different in the policies and approaches when dealing and teaching race, ethnicity. Become knowledgeable of these procedures so if incidents occur you are aware of what is to be done. 

Everyday Practice:

  • Challenge the discriminatory attitudes or behaviour, rather than the person.
  • Expect tension and conflict and learn to manage it
  • Be aware of your own attitudes, stereotypes and expectations
  • Actively listen to and learn from others’ experiences
  • Use language and behaviour that is non-biased and inclusive
  • Provide accurate information to challenge stereotypes and biases
  • Acknowledge diversity and avoid stereotypical thinking
  • Be aware of your own hesitancies – be awarre of what makes you feel uncomfortable and challenge this 
  • Project a feeling of understanding, respect and support
  • Establish standards of responsibility and behaviour working collectively with others


I have learnt through this session and lecture how to deal with racism in a school setting and how there are many levels of racism as well as areas which influence people views.

I believe, from reflection, that children of a young age may be influenced through external sources or their environment regarding behaviour and racism. A link to this would be Bandura and Bobo Doll experiment and theory, this being where children behave in a particular way as they see others, adults, acting in this way and they deem to believe this is appropriate. Therefore, if a child experiences racism they may not have the knowledge or understanding to classify if this is correct or not.

Lander and Knowles (2015) indicate from research that children should be taught throughout the curriculum the impact and information regarding racism, diversity and stereotypes. I also believe this is beneficial so children can then identify what their beliefs are. However, the educator who leads these sessions needs to ensure it is an unbiased session and they acknowledge their opinions beforehand so they can then be dealt with accordingly.

Following this I would like to develop my practice in relation to race and ethnicity by looking at appropriate policies in my next setting. This is because I believe children should have an equal knowledge about this area to form their own opinion and also acknowledge their own race.  




Behaviour Management

Underpinning principles:

  • All behaviour is communication-how you or children behave in a given situation, response to the situation, what is the child communicating;
  • Everyone has an internal working model-how are people going to treat me?
  • The brain and body are inextricably linked- nobody can help having emotions and feelings, trigger physical responses, you can choose how you act but not how you feel, children haven’t always developed to think how to react so they just react emotionally;
  • Children arrive in school with a range of experiences-all children arrive in school with different experiences, don’t stereotype families/children just because of their backgrounds, all families are different;
  • In parenting ‘good enough’ is good enough;
  • This is not about blame- do not blame the parents about the child’s behaviour;
  • We are NOT therapists- we are there to support children.


Different types of behaviours:

  • Attention seeking;
  • Controlling;
  • Bossy;
  • Poor resilience;
  • Tantrums.


Some ways to manage these behaviours:

  • make sure you know your children,
  • if you know a child needs attention then you will have to set something up through the day so they feel as though they are getting attention-prevents attention seeking from happening more frequently.


Key Terms:

Attachment- attachment theory concerns the process by which human beings bond with their first caregiver, usually the mother, laying the foundations for the formation of self-image, the building of relationships and self-regulation.

Internal working model- this internal working model is a cognitive framework.



John Bowlby- developed attachment theory with a primary caregiver and notion of an internal working model.

Mary Ainsworth- developed the theory to include different styles of attachment which in turn were evident in different types of behaviour.

More recently- more recently in the terms of Disinhibited Social Engagement and Inhibited Social Engagement have been used to describe these patterns of behaviour.


The Attachment Cycle:

Need: Child feels helpless/not able to meet own need;

Distress: Parent responds adequately: eye contact, touch, smiles, food;

Relief:  Child’s needs are met, child calms and relaxes;

Trust: Child does not trust that needs will be met.


If you’ve got a parent who sometimes responds and sometimes doesn’t, this can be problematic, as well as if a parent doesn’t respond at all. A child’s needs will not be met constantly so their needs will remain high, along with their stress hormones which can become toxic level which can impair all kinds of things.




Why self-calming matters:

  • Self-calming is learned from caregivers in response to a need;
  • Calming the body, calms the mind;
  • Walk-this calms the mind.


What can cause difficulties with attachment?

  • Pre-birth stress- self-harm, domestic violence;
  • Alcohol or drug use during pregnancy;
  • Parental illness pre or post birth;
  • Ante or post natal depression;
  • Prematurity;
  • Medical complication;
  • Illness or bereavement;
  • Neglect/abandonment;
  • Poverty;
  • Instability;
  • Multiple home or school placements.


Types of attachment and what they look like:

  • Avoidant-seek to meet own needs, self-sufficient, emotionally distant, shut-down, dissociated, difficult to connect with, isolated, values achievements more than intimacy, task orientated, over compliant, anxious to keep others happy, avoids confrontations, feels safe when in control, prickly or socially uncomfortable about the proximity of others, occasional flashes of aggression when over anxious.


  • Ambivalent- aims to have needs met by means available, clingy, manipulative, attention seeking, ‘in your face’, fears not being ‘held in mind’, unable to trust adults to identify needs accurately, constantly on edge, high level of anxiety, hostile, resentful or rejecting of others when frustrated, unable to focus on tasks unless supported, feels vulnerable if others’ needs take precedence, leaves adults feeling exhausted or drained.


  • Disorganises- erratic responses, bizarre or extreme behaviours, desire to shock, take risks, control, conflicting behaviours-craving one minute and rejecting the next, fears being or appearing vulnerable or dependent, poor self-awareness and empathy, perceives self as unworthy of care, help, love, highly anxious, over- or hyper-vigilant, reacts to unseen triggers.



What do children need from adults?

  • A safe base-secure attachment figure(s);
  • Emotional containment- receiving and understanding emotional communication without being overwhelmed;
  • Shame recovery- avoiding a shame based identity;
  • Attunement- insight or being ‘held in mind’;
  • Reciprocity- both involved in initiating, regulating and terminating interactions, learning that relationships can be repaired and negativity recovered them.



Behaviour management – changing actions in a context – usually done to alter negative behaviour

Hotspots for behaviour means the times it management may need to occur – routines changing, transition in environment, low level disturbance (noise shouting out) keeping/gaging attention

Key principles

  • All behaviour reflects underlying needs and has a purpose
  • Behaviour is inextricably linked to emotions and perceptions
  • Behaviour is learned
  • Behaviour can change

The issues with behaviour is the problem not the child!

Different approaches for behaviour – rules rewards consequences (class or whole school choice)


The children you are working with:

  • Have a variety of backgrounds and experiences
  • Have different levels of social and emotional development
  • May feel anxious about their ability
  • May struggle with self -esteem
  • May experience high levels of stress
  • May experience significant barriers to learning
  • May have difficulty understanding unwritten rules or lots of verbal instructions
  • Will make mistakes and lack judgement




A model for thinking about behaviour (Ellis and Todd, 2013)





Rewards and Consequence as a strategy needs to e used sensitively

Rewards need to be explain to support the long-term effectiveness

Consequences need to be used softly so shame isn’t caused

  • Good to demonstrate respect to support behaviour
  • Your actions with children and staff
  • Listening
  • Planning good lessons and being prepared
  • Good role model
  • Poor lessons = poor behaviour
  • Ask the children how they think teacher should behaviour

Demonstrating Respect – Valuing Individuals

  • Some children have a history of failure – these children may engage in diversionary tactics to mask their anxiety
  • Some children have learned that the adults in their lives are not to be trusted – these children may push you to test your limits
  • Some children do not like or not interested in what you are trying to teach, they may fear exposure – be aware and recognise this is a valid point of view


Setting expectations before behaviour occurs is essential so children know how to behave

Clear signals for gaining children attention at all times

When managing noise, levels may be beneficial to let children practice their types of voices – spy, whisper, partner, group and outdoors.


Rules – should be few in number, describe the wanted behaviour long term support children in developing, define the ethos of the school, children support in making them at start of year

Routines are the tasks that need to be done to ensure a safe purposeful environment


Intrinsic and external motivation – important in rule keeping

People (Reiss 2013) believe all motivation is intrinsic

5 - 2.PNG


Teaching rules and regulations allows teacher to set expectations, models routine, structure throughout, allows practice.



4 steps to reducing unwanted behaviour

  • Clear directions
  • Acknowledge children who follow the instructions
  • Circulation around the class acknowledging the appropriate behaviour
  • Have a plan for following up

If the behaviour you want is not going to plan offer children choices and offer opportunities to reform relationships, offer reminders to children.

When Challenging Unwanted Behaviour

  • Remain very calm
  • Make eye contact
  • Voice low
  • Body relaxed
  • Separate the behaviour from the child
  • Remind the child of previous positive behaviour
  • State what you would like the child to do positively
  • Allow the child some take up time to process and act
  • Repeat as necessary and praise



In relation to behaviour management through engaging with this seminar and lecture I have developed knowledge of the underlying reasons for behaviour management and some reasons children behave in the way they do. In previous practice I experienced using rewards to manage children’s behaviour. This experience developed my skills in behaviour management however I want more opportunities within this area as on the previous placement myself and the other trainees worked together to manage the behaviour of the class and I would like experience in doing this myself.


Gifted and Talented

This post supports Teacher Standard 2 and 5. This is because by learning about gifted and talented then teachers are able to learn about children’s capabilities and adapt the environment to this.

More able – achieving or potential to achieve in advance if their peers in one or more academic area

Talented – achieving or potential to achieve in Adam e to their peers in music, art, sport of creative art

Many factors could effect a child’s talent – resources, curriculum timer, extra curricula time, parental influence, self esteem.

Transition – gifted and talented children may fail in the early years of high school.

**This relates to primary education because children may enter secondary school unaware of their talents and primary schools make the secondary schools aware of what the child is achieving, therefore the primary educators need to ensure children and schools are aware of the children’s talents to support the further development**

Failing G&T Because… 

  • lack of identification -unaware of pupils, teachers should know what their children are doing in their free time
  • Lack of collaboration – need to work with other educators especially secondary schools, higher ks2 should know and visit their next school
  • Misunderstanding of provision – what is done about their ability/talent challenged? 
This padlet page supports the understanding and ideas to challenge children in their able activity or talent. This can be used as a resource for myself for future practice. 

When on PP1A I encountered children who were talented in an area. This ranged from talents in football to drawing. I discovered these talent by getting to know the children and as a result of this, I was able to us this to support the development of their talents. For example the little boy who was talented in drawing struggled with writing. When science and foundation activities were planned, arts was incorporated so he could share what he has learnt through little words and drawings instead of struggling to express this through writing. This then supported his talent as he had opportunities to practice his talent. Following the reflection of this, I would like to progress my knowledge in understanding how to become inclusive with a focus on gifted and talented.

Its all about the child

EAL Children are…

  • Children who have recently arrived in the UK and do not speak English 
  • Born in Britain speak home language then speak English upon entry to a school
  • A few children who speak their language 
  • Born in Britain speak another language 
  • Don’t/Do share the same language as the teacher 
  • When all other children in class speak language 

Bilingualism is when a child is fluent in more than one language. 

Ways to support children who are bilingual or EAL – 

  • use actions when talking 
  • visual aids 
  • middle ability 
  • make lessons concrete not abstract 
  • dictionary on hand to talk an understand their language 
  • context into learning 
  • sympathetic to refugee status/emotional needs 
  • interactive teaching techniques 
  • time to watch their playing 
  • culture differences and home mannerisms 
  • someone else write for the child 
  • translators or readers 
  • don’t leave without support


Teaching an EAL child is an opportunity for them, the teacher and also other pupils. This is because it opens up discussion regarding their culture and supports children in the class learning new languages. 

Activities to support EAL can include: cards, snowball, child in between two english speakers, talking, drama, write in both languages and vocabulary games 

Don not put EAL child in low ability because their cognitive development may be impacted and this child may not need extra support or intervention in their learning, therefore, it is important to assess them in their own language to identify their cognitive abilities. 


I believe that it would be a great opportunity to experience having a child with EAL in the classroom and as the opportunity did not arise in PPA1 I would like to work alongside and EAL child when next in a school setting. 




Higher order thinking skills in the classroom


higher-orderHigher order thinking skills gives the children the opportunity to discover and have access to varied and many thinking skills as possible. It supports them in gaining a range of strategies, finding thinking that suits them and helps children meet challenges.

I believe that children should be given the opportunity to experience higher order thinking skills as it will develop their learning and thinking throughout the curriculum. In relation to techniques which support children’s higher order thinking skills I like De Bono thinking hats. It supports children’s learning and directs their thinking in particular areas. When I am attending a school setting I would like to use this techniques in a session I am planning and delivering.