This week we’ve been sharing our new Toolkit for Happiness project with year 12 pupils from Larkmead School as part of their Careers week and have been blown away by their enthusiasm and commitment to the project. Toolkit for Happiness was in development before COVID set in but it seems very apt to be rolling it out now as the whole ‘lockdown’ experience has left some people feeling very anxious or low.

The toolkit is designed to use simple strategies to promote and support children’s wellbeing and good mental health. It consists of five workshops each focusing on a different area important to wellbeing:

  • Nature
  • Physical activity
  • Acts of kindness
  • Creativity
  • Relaxation and reflection.

Each group of around 30 Year 12 students took part in a day’s training on all the workshop activities culminating in them creating photograph or video instructions for one activity. All the students entered into the activities with enthusiasm, with many of them commenting on how the individual workshops had improved their sense of wellbeing or happiness:

“Making things was relaxing and nice.” “It felt good to be kind.”

“I enjoyed the creativity and acts of kindness workshops the most as they were the most fun and cheered me up.”

“The Acts of kindness activities helped me connect with my emotions.”

“Physical exercise was engaging and fun.”         “It was nice to get fresh air and relaxing.”       

“Relaxation was very relaxing for my muscles and allowed me to zone out from the world.”

The students gave us helpful feedback throughout the day with thoughtful suggestions on how specific activities and our risk assessments could be improved. Many students are also keen to help deliver the project both in Larkmead and in local primary schools over the next school year. “I would like to volunteer to help run the Toolkit for Happiness because I can imagine it would boost the younger students’ mental well-being and it would be nice to see them enjoying themselves and connecting with their friends.”

The fantastic videos and photographs created by the students will be used to make a supporting web-based resource, which will allow the project to be further rolled out over the next school year, even if face-to-face activities are limited.