Pupils at Woodland NS at their Strengths Tree
Woodland National School in Letterkenny were recently awarded the Most Creative Idea at the online Mission Possible 2020 Awards ceremony.
This competition celebrates the promotion of Wellbeing and Positive Mental Health in Irish schools. Woodlands won their award for their mental health initiative ‘Our Strengths Tree’.
The Strengths Tree is based on the premise in Positive Psychology that there are 24 different character strengths and if children and adults use their top strengths regularly, it has a very positive impact on their overall wellbeing.
The Strengths Tree is painted on the PE hall wall. Leaves are added to this tree when children have shown particular character strengths.
Ronan and James from Senior Infants
One strength is chosen each half-term. When a new strength is introduced it is explained and described to the pupils using storybooks and YouTube videos so that everyone is clear what the strength is and looks like. This year the strengths focused on Kindness, Creativity and Perseverance.
Each week, teachers and SNAs look out for pupils displaying this character strength and give a leaf to these pupils. The pupils decorate their leaf.
Adam and Aoibheann from 1st class
On Fridays all the pupils who have received leaves that week put their leaves on the tree, have their photo taken for the school website and explain why they were given the leaf.
Lots of praise is given and the importance of using these strengths is emphasised in an age-appropriate way.
School Principal Dr Patricia Slevin said ‘This is wonderful recognition for the importance we place on pupil wellbeing in Woodland NS.
“Pupil wellbeing and positive mental health will be a critical focus for us when we return to school in September and our Wellbeing Team are already planning to ensure a smooth transition back to school for our pupils.’
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