30th January 2020 — Great Ballard has recently launched a ‘Wellbeing Hub’ at Draper’s Yard. They are a pioneering school for the iSpace and iWonder Wellbeing programmes which focus on teaching children to understand and manage their emotions, promoting emotional wellbeing. The Wellbeing Hub features work from pupils across the school on various topics such as stress, emotions, physical health and online safety. A ‘niggle’ box has been added to the exhibition, encouraging visitors to engage in a cathartic exercise by writing down something that is perhaps causing them stress or anxiety, ripping it up and posting it into the box. After this, visitors are encouraged to write on a separate sheet something that they are grateful for and post it in the box.
Preparing children emotionally is considered just as important by Great Ballard School as preparing children academically for the life ahead of them and iSpace is not the only programme in place. As a school Great Ballard has a firm belief in the benefits of outdoor learning and play to the physical development, mental health and wellbeing of children. The school benefits from being situated within the South Downs National Park and International Dark Skies Reserve. It also provides a Forest School programme to children from Nursery upwards and many learning support lessons take place in the outdoors, using natural materials to learn and improve new skills.
As the school continues its development up to aged 16 it plans to enhance the wellbeing provision to include a positive psychology course for GCSE aged pupils. The first Year 9 class will launch the Senior School when they walk through the gates in September 2021. Great Ballard is currently open to children aged from 2½-13.