Because we care so much about our children’s health and wellbeing, we put lots of actions into place to ensure their thoughts, feelings and general wellbeing is a firm focus and priority in school, every single day. We are a part of The Paths Programme here at Merton Bank seeing all staff delivering and embracing the programmes ethos and goal.
The PATHS® Programme for Schools (UK Version) is designed to facilitate the development of self-control, emotional awareness and interpersonal problem-solving skills.
The PATHS® Programme for Schools (UK Version) is a programme for educators and counsellors designed to facilitate the development of self-control, emotional awareness and interpersonal problem-solving skills. The programme consists of a variety of lessons, and additional materials and charts for use with primary school children. The purposes of the PATHS® programme are to enhance the social competence and social understanding of children, as well as to facilitate educational processes in the classroom. The PATHS® Programme for Schools (UK Version) has been adapted for a UK audience by Barnardo’s NI.
The PATHS Programme for schools empowers all children to develop fundamental social and emotional learning skills which will enable them to make positive choices throughout their life. We feel that implementing this programme improves outcomes for children in school and allows them to know that:
‘all feelings are OK but the way we react is sometimes not OK’
We have fully embraced the notion of ‘Pupil of the day’ here at Merton Bank where it sees us celebrate a different pupil each day in each class. As time has passed, we have all become so much better at giving and receiving compliments when it is our turn. This single activity boosts self esteem and allows the children to feel the good that comes from making other people feel happy as they give compliments.
The lessons on emotional understanding cover approximately 25 different effective states and are taught in a developmental hierarchy beginning with basic emotions (happy, sad, angry, etc.) and later introducing more complex emotional states. As the ability to label emotional states is a central focus, major emphasis is placed on encouraging such labeling as a precursor for effective self-control and optimal problem resolution. The children are also taught cues for the self-recognition of their own feelings and the recognition of emotions in others, effective self-monitoring techniques, training in attributions that link causes and emotions, perspective-taking skills in how and why to consider another’s point of view, and information regarding how the behaviour of others can affect oneself. These lessons include group discussions, role-playing, art activities, biographies, stories and educational games.
‘We do Pupil of the day which is good, and we can give and take compliments which makes us happy!’
‘We get to play outside in the MUGA which Mr Griffiths bought us!’
The second unit focuses on self-control, a prerequisite for effective problem-solving. In this section, emotions such as anger and frustration are discussed, differentiations are made between feelings (all feelings are OK to have) and behaviours (some are OK and some are NOT OK), and modelling and role-play are utilised to teach children new ways to recognise and control anger. Some methods for helping children to calm down and learn better self-control, the Turtle Technique, Three Steps for Calming Down and the Control Signals Poster (CSP) are also introduced in this sub-unit. The CSP is modelled on the notion of a traffic signal and is a revised version of the Stop Light used in the Yale-New Haven Middle School Social Problem Solving Program (Weissberg, Caplan, & Bennetto, 1988). The red light of the CSP focuses on self-control.
The third focus of the curriculum teaches interpersonal problem-solving. The skills in emotional awareness and self-control are prerequisites for learning competent interpersonal problem-solving, so lessons on this topic do not begin until the groundwork has been covered by previous instruction. Beginning in an informal, active manner (using the Control Signals Poster), children are taught the steps of social problem-solving. Beginning in Year 4, children receive formal lessons on each of the following steps:- Stop – What is Happening?
‘We have the DOJO cabinet which is full of prizes!’
‘Compliments make us say nice things and makes our day better’
Peer Relations and Self-Esteem
Issues regarding friendship and peer relations are introduced throughout the PATHS® curriculum. This occurs both in the context of feelings (i.e., angry, shy, lonely, etc.) as well as through role-playing and thinking about how to solve problems that arise with friends. The issue of self-esteem is covered in a variety of ways including the regular activity of giving compliments (Pupil of the Day).
At Merton Bank we are passionate about the mental health of our whole school community. By following PATHS this is a way in which we support our children and celebrate their uniqueness.
PATHS ambassadors – Mrs J. O’Brien and Miss T. Heaton