“Calm down”. Wow, how I used to hate being told this when I was younger. I was naturally excitable and “over the top” (another implied and applied criticism.) Never were there any actual tips on how I could ‘calm down’. In education at that time we’d never heard of PHSE, Circle-Time or Mindfulness … so unless you found yourself in a 60’s flower-power hippy home you’d never heard of meditation or even ‘breathing’.
(Click title to read on …. )
Now, of course in the last 40 years, the whole educational landscape has changed.
Interestingly industry,in it’s quest to get the best out of it’s workers, often led the way. Japanese industry in 1930’s first promoted Quality Circles as part of the Total Quality Management process and later in the USA Daniel Goleman’s ‘Emotional Intelligence’ resonated throughout industry. There is a long respectable list and mindfulness is now up there with a wealth of research backing up it’s claims that it can help you become calm and focussed.
Encouraging self-belief in a range of ways is vital to human beings’ ability to achieve. For many years sports psychologists have been employed to coach top sports people in how to reach their best potential by constantly repeating to themselves positive messages of self motivation immediately prior to a huge demanding event.
With this backdrop in mind I found myself working in Westbrook Old Hall Primary school in Warrington one morning with 3 classes of their Year 6 pupils. Together we worked on a visualisation that just might help them think more positively and calmly about walking into a room and opening their SATs papers.
Due to one of their teachers also being a brilliant illustrator the whole school already has an ongoing symbol of hope and fun – embedded in their minds from reception onwards – Westie – a wee West Highland dog that represents their school in everything they do. In various contexts he is featured on a lot of school posters to help them succeed at football, earn golden time (see Westie blog HERE ), wear tidy uniform – so he was the ideal character to help the children do their best in SATs too.
And so … ‘Keep Calm And Carry On Doing Your Best’ was born with Westie gazing from a poster from all the walls of the rooms where the Year 6 children would have to go to face their tests. I include here – link through to it – the visualisation we used.
It can be adapted for your own children, for any challenge with any shared agreed loved symbol of hope they chose to represent.
I can’t conclude today’s blog without also telling you about my website manager Zara’s little 5 year old daughter Sukie. She’s a very thoughtful effective little soul, always thinking of ideas to help her family – and continually warming our hearts with her quirky comments and thoughts. In the same week of me writing about my positive visualisations – she noticed her Mum was a bit over-tired. Totally spontaneously she made up and wrote a little visualisation for Zara to say herself at night as she slips under her duvet. Here it is exactly as she wrote it … out of the mouths of babes comes the wisdom of ages. We just need to listen and learn.
AAAAAAAAA by Sukie
rest your back
close your eyes
dream about anything
you want to
curl down low
rest your body
and rest your
head and then
go to sleeeeeeeeeeep
Keep Calm and Carry On (A Visualisation to help with SATs relaxation by the children of Westbrook Prmary School and Jenny)
You have entered the room and sat down on the familiar brown chair. Slowly put your hand on your tummy, with your other hand on top and breathe in, closing your mouth first. You breathe in ‘1, 2, 3’. Feel the energy and oxygen coming through your nose and as you breathe out ‘1, 2, 3’ you let go of the tension and toxins. Now do this again.
As you are breathing calmly you feel a sense of energy and power. You feel steady and hopeful.
Now you look up on the familiar little figure of Westie’s poster ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’. It makes you smile. You know that Westie is part of your school life. He represents your school and all the years you spent learning and having fun.
Just the sight of him makes you feel very energised and happy and you know you are going to enjoy all the questions in front of you.
In a second you will be entering your details onto the pale sunny yellow cover of the English questions/or the calm blue cover of the Maths questions. You know that you are going to write really good answers because you are calm and the room is beautifully quiet. All you will hear is the scribbling of pens and feel the cool, calm of the room.
You feel excited and happy. One more look at Westie. One more calm breath and off you go with strong confidence.
Website Manager’s Notes and Further OFSTED comments
- Jenny Mosley works both nationally and internationally. Her educational model is used in many different schools and Early Years settings and Jenny trains staff through conferencing and schools training.
- Our webshop and catalogue are brimming wirh products to help schools and life in the classroom. See our Calming (and Energizing) Range of resources HERE – including Top Tips for Calmer Classrooms, Big Book of Calmers and Positive Emotions Stickers. There are also some great visualisations in ‘Quality Circle Time in the Primary Classroom‘.
- The whole school model for positive behaviour for learning, happier lunchtimes and improved self-esteem works on the principals of promoting moral values and respect and as such, crosses cultures and continents with ease.
- Jenny is available for training projects and conferences. Please get in touch to discuss your requirements and how we can help. For all enquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01225 767157.