Longacre has opened a new wellbeing space for pupils and staff as part of the school’s focus on mindfulness and mental health.

The ‘Bear Hut’, so called after the bear that features in the school’s logo, opened at the start of the term and is already proving popular with Longacre pupils.

Funded by the Longacre PTA, the Bear Hut provides a safe, quiet, welcoming environment where children can be listened to. It will be used as a space for counselling, speech therapy and occupational therapy with individual children and small groups. Mindfulness Club and art therapy will also take place inside the hut.

The Bear Hut is the brainchild of Longacre’s Head of Art and Head of Years 5 & 6, Tara Pandey.

“Research has shown that 70% of children and young people who have experienced a mental health problem have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age and that children and young people who experience mental illness are more likely than other people to experience mental illness in adulthood.* Creating the right environment for children is about creating the right physical environment as well as the right emotional environment.” said Ms Pandey.

“We envisage it also being used as a place for teachers to meet with parents and children together to talk through any well-being issues and for children who are not able to play outside at break and lunchtime.” added Ms Pandey.

“There are still a few finishing touches to be made but this hasn’t stopped the children popping in for a chat, some reassurance or just to share their day.”

Longacre School Headmaster Matthew Bryan said “We are really proud of Longacre’s commitment to mental health and wellbeing and would like to thank the PTA for their fantastic support.”

*(https://youngminds.org.uk/media1438/wise-up-prioritising-wellbeing-in-schools.pdf)

Mrs Pandey