As part of our commitment to nurturing our students overall growth, Fairgreen has incorporated a number of programmes in place to foster our students' overall wellbeing, leading to a rich culture of care on campus.
Evidence supports schools focusing on the health and wellbeing of children as a clear indicator that this improves academic accomplishment, whilst also helping them to live well. At the heart of creating a culture that nourishes both wellbeing and academic achievement, we value human relationships above all else. When we create relationships with our students that are warm, empathetic and encouraging, our students are more likely to thrive.
Fairgreen offers mindfulness training to all interested teachers and staff on the ".b Foundations" Teacher Mindfulness course, an 8-week program developed by the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP), a UK-based non-profit established in 2009 to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of children. Our Head of Counseling Jackie Greenwood is the only MiSP-trained teacher in Dubai who is certified to teach this course. We also have three others who are trained to teach mIndfulness in our school, Matt Greenwood our Primary Principal, Julie Serrao PYP Teacher and Louise Mehta EYP teacher. All of our teachers have had introductory training in Mindfulness and are encouraged to create moments in the day, which are silent, and reflective.
What is Mindfulness and why offer it?
At its most basic level, mindfulness helps train one’s attention to be more aware of what is actually happening, rather than worrying about what has happened or might happen. By being mindful, we learn to bring greater curiosity to whatever it is we experience. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of secular mindfulness, described this skill as ‘being alive and knowing it’.
- A practice of stopping and noticing
- A training in attention and awareness
- An evidence-based practice
- Endorsed by the National Institute of Clinical Excellence
Studies* have shown that mindfulness training offers a multitude of benefits to participants, including:
- a reduction in stress, burnout and anxiety
- a reduction in the sense of task and time pressure
- an improved ability to manage thoughts and behaviour
- an increase in coping skills, motivation, planning and problem solving
- an increase in self-compassion and self-care
We believe our mindfulness training helps Fairgreen teachers and staff to be more caring and attentive to our students’ social and emotional needs, helping them to be at their best to learn and grow.
*Based on published research from the Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) @ www.mindfulnessinschools.org
Social Emotional Learning (SEL)
Jigsaw is a whole school approach to teaching PSHE - Personal, Social and Health Education, which in the UAE is part of Moral Education. It covers a range of topics throughout the year, which the whole primary school focuses on at the same time. The topics are Being Me in My World; Celebrating Diversity; Dreams and Goals; Healthy Me; Relationships and Changing Me. We also teach some basic tools for helping the children to be calm and focused. There is considerable research evidence that Social Emotional Learning (SEL) improve students' social development and mental health but also can strengthen their academic achievement.
To find out more go to www.jigsawpshe.com
Fairgreen’s ‘DREAMS’ Wellbeing Programme for MYP and upper class students was designed by our Head of Counselling and Wellbeing Team to foster the development of key life skills that promote wellbeing and academic success. Students meet weekly for their DREAMS class where they work on projects and activities relating to each of the key developmental areas of focus in DREAMS, including:
Drive/Motivation - How we find our purpose and passions, set goals and aspire to achieving our Dreams.
Relationship - We value the development of relationship with self and others that cultivates communication based on respect, kindness, acceptance, love and connection.
Emotion - Enabling awareness of feelings, through self expression, and enhancing the experience of positive emotions, such as awe and wonder, optimism, joy, gratitude.
Accomplishment - in our learning environment, we wish to encourage everyone to strive towards competency in a multitude of skills and accomplishment in sports, arts, music, design, and service as well as the traditional academic pathways.
Mindfulness - is embedded throughout our wellbeing program and community. We have adopted the JIGSAW SEL program, and the Mindfulness in Schools Project .b (Stop, breathe, be) and PAWS program to support this practice. Mindfulness builds self awareness of emotions, and through increased mind and body awareness enables balance and calm.
Service - as an IB school, we all model the IB learner attributes and dedicate ourselves to helping others and the planet. Wellbeing is promoted, as doing good helps us feel good. Developing character strengths and good citizenship, promotes wellbeing within our community and beyond.
PYP and MYP Assemblies
Our weekly PYP assemblies are a good way to foster positive character development while developing the culture of the school. Some of our assemblies are used to introduce new units from the Jigsaw program. Examples of such units include: Being Me in My World; Celebrating Diversity; and Dreams and Goals. Other assemblies draw on something topical, for example, the start of the new calendar year aligned to new beginnings and opportunities to start afresh. This topic gives students the opportunity to think about setting New Year's resolutions. Assemblies are often participatory where students will partake in a group activity that helps them to visualize or act out the learning goal. Assemblies are also an opportunity to celebrate accomplishments, so that the community of learners can recognise others efforts.