Happiness Project – Christ Church NW3
We know that all children experience times when they feel less happy and, through our Happiness Project, we wanted to equip them with a range of strategies they can use to help themselves and others a
What were your reasons for doing this development work?
- To develop understanding of happiness and what makes us happy.
- To develop this in all members of school community through whole school work involving children, staff and parents.
- To support emotional well-being and emotional resilience in all pupils (and the wider school community), giving them the skills to support their own mental and emotional health.
Who were the identified target learners?
We targeted the whole school (191 children), the staff (24 members) and all the parents.
What did you do - what teaching approaches did you use?
We wanted to promote the importance of positive mental health and wellbeing for the children, staff and parents within the school community. We based our Happiness Project on Action for Happiness’ ‘10 Keys to Happier Living’.
Throughout the Autumn term, we explored one theme per week where the children got to take part in a variety of activities to support their learning and understanding of these themes. We also did an introduction week at the start of the project and a review week at the end.
See the attachment below for an overview of the themes we covered.
What specific teaching resources did you use?
Please see the attachment below for lesson ideas, activities and links to resources.
Outcomes and Impact
What has been the impact on pupil learning?
We had had an extremely positive response to the project from staff, parents and children. We have noticed children being able to regulate their emotions by using some of the strategies taught during the resilience and also the awareness week. We have also noticed children using terminology such as ‘bounce back ability’, ‘resilience,’ ‘mindfulness’ etc. Children seem to have more of an understanding about the kinds of things that can make them happy. During the review week, classes were asked to recap over all the learning that had taken place. In terms of impact on parents we have received some very positive feedback.
Evidence of impact on pupil learning
At the beginning of the project during the introduction week, we asked all the children in the school to complete a survey to get an idea of their views on happiness and what makes them happy. We asked children in Reception and Year 1 to fill out a simplified version of the questionnaire. At the end of the project, we re-did the questionnaire with some additional questions asking the children to reflect on their favourite parts of the project and what they have learnt from it. We also sent out a questionnaire to parents asking them to describe the impact (if any) that the project had had on the children.
What has been the impact on school organisation and leadership?
Staff and parents have fed back that they have more of an awareness of issues relating to children’s mental health and wellbeing. As part of the project all of the children, staff and parents within the school had an opportunity to participate in the project. In this way, we feel that the project has left a legacy which can be seen both at school and at home.
What would your next steps be?
As part of the week on ‘Meaning’, all the children in the school got divided into groups according to their Houses. They were set the task of coming up with ways to spread happiness at home, in school, and in the wider community. The children came up with some fantastic ideas which will be worked on over the next year. School Council also attended the Children’s Youth Summit which took place at City Hall. The Summit was designed to help the children to think of a volunteering project which would benefit the local community. They are currently working on a project to educate people about the effects of littering on the environment. This fits in with the work we did on ‘meaning’ as part of the Happiness Project.
If another individual or school was attempting to replicate this work, where should they start?
Invest the time at the beginning of the project to make a detailed plan as this will really help the project to run smoothly. Although there were lots of ideas on the plan, teachers could pick and choose which idea they wanted to do with their class. This helped to ensure that the project was manageable for the teachers in terms of other priorities. The children really enjoyed the ‘try something new’ week so it’s definitely worth exploring which activities your children would particularly like to try. The amazing thing about living in London is that most things are on offer!