Hackney sisters launch Kindness Curriculum for children's mental health

Kindness Curriculum Laura and Kate

Two sisters behind the Kindness Curriculum project, Laura and Kate - Credit: Laura at the Kindness Curriculum

Not enough time is allocated to children’s social and emotional learning, the co-founder of a Hackney mental health initiative has said.

Sisters behind the Kindness Curriculum project, Laura and Kate Boniface, hope to inspire children to take "movement breaks" through Joe Wicks-style YouTube videos and in-class schemes.

Laura told the Gazette that teachers need more support to encourage positive mental health in the classroom.

Laura at the Kindness Curriculum

Laura Boniface - Credit: Laura at the Kindness Curriculum

“Children are now expected to have so much resilience to adapt to different environments – the word ‘adaptive’ is one we need to recognise,” Laura said.

“There is lots of talk around pastoral learning and boosting emotional wellbeing.

“I’ve been speaking to teachers about it and they all say the same thing: ‘We want to do more but we are not supported to do so.’”

Laura, who is a child speech and language therapist in Hackney, and Kate, who is a Hackney primary school teacher, launched an Instagram page and YouTube channel in 2020 to encourage children to take concentration breaks.

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Their videos feature dance classes and yoga breaks for primary school pupils.

They now plan on launching a website and developing structured schemes of social and emotional learning to be used in classtime.

She said: “We are really big believers in emotional regulation in the classroom.

“We feel like every classroom should have calm spaces, a space where children can go if they feel dysregulated or if they can’t learn because they are unsettled.

“Every child requires support for their mental health as every child will experience big emotions.”

Laura says parents can support their children by giving them “brain breaks” and making sure exercise is not always seen as a chore.

In January, The Lancet medical journal published data which showed around 16 per cent of children will have faced mental health problems in 2020, up from 10pc just three years ago.

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