Burgess Hill school’s nature theme for mental health week

Burgess Hill Girls has chosen the theme of ‘nature’ for National Mental Health Awareness Week, which ran from Monday, May 10 to Saturday, May 16.

Tuesday, 18th May 2021, 9:41 am
Burgess Hill Girls has chosen the theme of 'nature' for National Mental Health Awareness Week. Picture: Tim Osborne SUS-210605-101053001

Pupils will take part in nature themed activities with a programme of visiting speakers and the launch of their own mindfulness film, Nature of Burgess Hill Girls.

Nikki Donson, assistant head, pastoral and boarding at the school, is the mastermind behind the week.

She said: “It is vital for Burgess Hill Girls as a school to recognise Mental Health Awareness Week.

“We know that young people do better in all aspects of life if they are happy and healthy, so it is a no-brainer to do everything we can to promote good mental health.”

Nikki added that many young people’s mental and emotional health and resilience has been affected over the past year.

In the nursery, children can take part in outside yoga, sensory walks, smoothie making and building bird feeders and binoculars.

They can also make hanging mobiles with objects from nature and they have already been growing sunflowers to give to their families.

People from the St Francis Animal Welfare Hedgehog Rescue Centre are visiting the nursery and pre-prep with a hedgehog to teach children about this endangered British mammal.

Nature activities for the pre-prep and prep school include building bug hotels and dens, reading outside, mindful tai chi, nature trails and nature sketching.

Pupils will also collaborate to create a giant outside artwork using natural materials.

Liz Hall, school nurse, will teach children how to manage their worries and Alan Pierce, catering manager, will provide fruit and vegetable tasting sessions with a chance for girls to make their own healthy drinks using a ‘self-powered smoothie bike’.

Staff and students in the senior school and sixth form are planning to explore nature themed therapies for common mental health conditions like OCD.

There will be outside samba band performances and readings of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while the language departments will be putting on a vocabulary-based scavenger hunt.

Wednesday, May 12 will be a ‘digital detox day’ where students will leave their phones at home and stay off social media.

Speakers for the senior school and sixth form students include nutritionist Karen Newby, sexual health expert Robbie Currie, yoga and mindfulness teacher Emily Gilchrist, the Schools Consent Project, and Ruth Summers, who will let students experience her sound bath.

Teachers and staff can take part in Zumba, pilates and meditation sessions, and St Andrew’s Church, Burgess Hill, will provide a quiet space for staff at lunchtimes.

The week will also be Burgess Hill Girls’ Open Week for people to visit, and the school has created a five-minute mindfulness film, which visitors can watch.