Pupils from Rockmount Primary School in Upper Norwood have been instrumental in creating a new interactive storybook and song in partnership with Croydon Council to help boost the mental health of all young children in Croydon.
The storybook called Five a day on Wellbeing Way will help those aged seven and under to talk about their feelings, manage difficulties, and build resilience to feel better.
The Rockmount pupils also learnt a catchy song to go with the book that will help others learn about what they can do to look after their mental health and wellbeing. A video of them performing the song using Makaton sign language can be watched here.
The schoolchildren worked with Croydon Council officers to create characters for the storyline based on the five recommended actions we should all routinely take to look after our health and wellbeing – connect with others, be active, take notice, keep learning and giving.
A number of pupils submitted drawings and the school’s wellbeing ambassadors of various ages helped to decide the final characters for inclusion in the storyline. Elizabeth Spendlove, Early Years Wellbeing Project Coordinator at the council wrote the story based on the children’s character descriptions.
Readers are taken on a journey with the five characters – Connie Connect, Active Akhim, Noticing Nina, Lenny the Learner and Giving Gilbert, to ‘have a go,’ ‘keep trying’ and ‘bounce back’ when things go wrong. They are also taught who they can safely ask for help and support.
Each nursery and reception aged child in the borough will receive a copy of the book to take home, funded by the Department for Education. Children in year one will get a snaps card game featuring the storybook characters.
Online resources are available to all and parents, teachers and anyone working in education can download the storybook and access the audio version, along with a guide and a toolkit packed with resources to support children’s learning at www.wellbeingway.co.uk. Resources include a colourful Wellbeing Tree to help remember the five ways to wellbeing through a visual aid.
Copies of the storybook are also available at children’s centres and to loan from libraries.
Nerys Thomas, aged nine, a wellbeing ambassador at Rockmount Primary School, said: “I think young children will enjoy reading the book. It is very colourful, and I like the way real children are the characters in the story. The book makes me feel happy and I think other children will feel happy when they read it too.”
“I would like to thank the pupils and teachers at Rockmount Primary School for helping us to create this excellent storybook and song, which will benefit all children in our borough.
“Ensuring that children and young people in Croydon have the chance to thrive, learn and fulfil their potential is one of my key commitments and I am pleased that these tools will help them to develop important skills to look after their physical and mental health. This storybook is for everyone to use and to apply what is best for their family or school environment.”
Jason Perry, Executive Mayor of Croydon
Donna Rankine, Assistant Headteacher and senior mental health lead at Rockmount Primary School, said: “It is great that our pupils had the opportunity to work with Croydon Council to create this fun and informative storybook for all children in the borough aged seven and under. Many children and their families are facing challenges each day that can impact their mental health. With this resource, we can now ensure our children know about the five ways to wellbeing in an age-appropriate way to support them to live happy, healthy lives.”