Wellbeing – engaging the wider community

Richard Daniel Curtis is an internationally renowned social and emotional skills expert and mentor passionate about helping millions understand developmental psychology and mental health.

It often feels like the responsibility for student wellbeing falls to schools.  However, wellbeing is global and we all have a part to play in that.

Wellbeing doesn’t stop at the gates

A pupil’s wellbeing is affected by their home environment and their community environment, likewise a pupil can affect people’s wellbeing in these environments.

If we are to truly help our pupils’ wellbeing then we owe it to them to know how they influence other people’s wellbeing.

A good way of doing this is to nurture a sense of caring for the wellbeing for others.

Giving pupils the tools

An important part of social and emotional development in young childhood is recognising the impact of our own actions on other people. We learn to stop actions that upset or harm others and we learn to do things to make other happy. There is no reason this reciprocity should stop when we shift from talking about emotional development to wellbeing.

As you are talking about wellbeing with your pupils, then take the time to explore how the conversation applies to looking after others. Our duty is not just to give children the tools to look after their own wellbeing, but also understand the impact they have on the wellbeing of others and also foster an innate desire to care for others.

Policy into Practice

An important part of modelling this is with our mental health and wellbeing ethos. Showing our pupils that we care for their families and our communities communicates more than just words.

Helping pupils to be there for their family and know what they can do to help their sibling’s wellbeing, but also knowing how to ask for support are vital strategies for growing up to be mentally healthy adults.

Arranging for pupils to do welfare checks on the elderly, or go and help out at a community project, or clean up the local play area. All of these are examples of easily arranged activities for any school to help give back to their community.

Likewise, inviting the community into school is something you have already considered, or may even be doing, however are these activities that you have linked to their wellbeing, not just the wellbeing of your pupils.

Ultimately, we are all part of networks in our homes, our families, our schools and our communities and these should be used to support us through the good times and even more so in the difficult times.

Learn from others

Finally, don’t forget to contact other schools engaged in similar work. Working with them can provide some great ideas and approaches as well as much needed support.

Written by Richard D Curtis

This blog is part of a series looking at the importance of student wellbeing and successful strategies for a whole school approach. In our previous blog, Could student wellbeing be linked to academic achievement?’, we looked at the evaluation findings from an Evidence analysis impact study exploring any potential links between wellbeing and student outcomes. On our wellbeing page you will also find a range of practical resources and guidance on wellbeing for parents and teachers, developed by experts.