Supporting schools to see, hear and hold children and young people's mental well-being

Interactive workshops for school years Reception to Year 8, designed to improve pupil's emotional literacy and resilience and promote mental and emotional well-being.

School workshops

The Mind Map is a not-for-profit organisation focussing on a whole school approach to incorporating preventative measures that support teachers and families in equipping children and young people with the skills to stay emotionally and mentally well.

The strategies we have developed at The Mind Map are focussed on two main objectives, Firstly, we believe that in order to feel emotionally secure, and thereby engage in academic learning, children need to feel 'seen, heard and held'. Without this, we believe that children will continue to use disruptive classroom behaviours in order to communicate their lack of emotional well-being.

Secondly, in a world where mental health difficulties are becoming increasing prevalent and affecting children of ever younger ages, we believe that teaching children how to stay mentally and emotionally well, equips them with life-long skills that will help to safeguard them from mental health difficulties in the future. 

In light of these two objectives, we have developed an Emotional Literacy Programme for school years Nursery to year 4, that develops children's emotional literacy, teaches resilience skills and encorages children to use their words rather than their behaviour to communicate how they feel.  In brief, the Emotional Literacy Programme includes the following aspects - the Feelings Flower, Caterpillar Club, the Shield of Resilience Workshop and Talk Time. More details of each of these tools can be found below. Recognising the extent to which school staff are already stretched in meeting the demands placed on them, we aim to by-pass the need for one or two members of staff being nominated to spearhead this initiactive, by sending a team of Mind Map workshop facilitators into school to introduce and help implement our Emotional Literacy Programme across each school.

In addition, as  our approach is a school wide initiative, part of our Emotional Literacy  Programme involves staff inset training - either day or twilight - in order to fully equip all members of school staff with the understanding behind the strategies we introduce. We also offer a one-off parent workshop outlining the value of the tools being introduced in school and emphasising the importance of structure and nurture in supporting the work being carried out in school.  

As well as our Emotional Literacy Programme, we have developed individual workshps for school years 5 to 8 that encourage children to build resilience skills and raise awareness of some of the issues children and young people face in adolescence . These workshops can be delivered as either part of an existing PSHE programme or as stand alone workshops.

Our programme of additional workshops  is constantly growing and developing in response to the requests made of us by the schools we work in. A list of the current list of these workshops is included below.

Recognising the constraints on school budgets, we offer our core emotional literacy package free of charge. Our only request is that schools commit to engage in at least one day of whole school fund raising on behalf of The Mind Map. Our additional workshops are offered for a minimal fee.

Please contact us to discuss the individual needs of your school.

Our workshops ...

Nursery to Year 4: Feelings Flower

The Feelings Flower forms the basis of the Mind Map Emotional Literacy Programme and acts as a barometer by which staff can assess the emotional well-being of each child on arrival at school.

Nursery to Year 4: Caterpillar Club

Caterpillar Club is another core element of the Emotional Literacy Programme and involves a weekly story in which any one of 18 feelings are discussed and analysed by way of a simple story about a caterpillar. The story includes aspects around how each feeling is experienced, how best they can be managed and how to practice being calm. By relating the accompanying caterpillar to feelings of well-bieng and communication, feedback has indicated that Caterpillar Club is a tool that can be used through out school to help children manage difficult feelings and behaviours.

Year 3 to Year 4/5: Shield of Resilience

The final element to the Emotional Literacy Programme involves the Shield of Resilience workshop.  This is a one-off workshop delivered by Mind Map staff in whicheach child builds up a shield outlining who they are and what they can say or do to help build their resilience. This workshop is designed to be loud and fun so that children see resilience as a positive asset.  We also offer support and advice on how to promote resilience on an on-going basis throughout school in order to develop life-long learning.

Year 5 to Year 8: Phone of Resilience

This workshop is similar to the Shield of Resilience except that insted of using a shield as the tool the children can use to develop their resilience, they are encouraged to use a phone in ordr to 'block' any negativity. Where children in year 5 and above have moved to middle school, the phone concept has proven to be better received by the children.  For those schools in the two tier system, children in school years 5 and 6 have preferred to use the Shield of Resilience like the younger years.  We are very happy to work with you and adapt the workshops you prefer according to the needs of your school.

Talk Time

Talk Time is not counselling but simply a space that schools may wish to develop in their week, perhaps over lunch time, where children are given the opportunity to come and simply 'talk'. This helps children build responsive relationships with a trusted adult and also teaches them a constructive response to what may be uncomfortable feelings ie they are encouraged to use their words rather than their behaviour to express their feelings. A member of The Mind Map team will guide a member of school staff on how best to introduce this in school and will shadow initial Talk Time sessions.

Year 5 to Year 8: Brain Food

This is a one-off workshop that would enhance an existing PSHE programme.  Children engage in learning and discussion around the brain and how they can develop positive and negative neuronal pathways. They are then encouraged to complete a fun Mind Map worksheet looking at any personal goals they might wish to set and how they can feed their brain to build up positive neuronal pathways enabling them to reach their goal.

Year 7 to 8: Who Am I?

This is a stand alone workshop that could form part of an existing PSHE programme. Pupils are encourgaed to explore the journey of adolescence and how we change and develop our sense of self during these sometimes turbulent years. Consideration is given as to how these changes might affect aspects such as friendship groups, social isolation and risky decision making. In order to illustrate the learning, pupils are encouraged to complete a Mind Map worksheet which allows them to consider who they currently see themselves as and what aspects of themselves they might want to re-invent.  Where school budgets permit, this workshop can be done using actual T-shirts rather than worksheets.  Please contact us to discuss this aspect of the workshop in more detail.

The Impact of Early Attachment

This is a stand alone workshop that is offered in two formats, one to school staff and one to parents. Each workshop gives an overview of the theory around early attachment and the impact that it can have on children's behaviour.  Within the school staff workshop the emphasis is on how insecure attachment may present in children's behaviour within school.  The parent workshop focuses on how best to support children in order to build strong early attachment links.

Raising Resilient Children

This is a stand alone workshop aimed primarily at parents. The focus of this workshop is on the importance of developing resilience in our children, some of the ways we can go about doing this and some of the parenting pitfalls we should best avoid.

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