Mental Health and Wellbeing : School chooses CoolFire

mental health wellbeing Holme Court chooses CoolFire to create positive mental health, holistic wellbeing and whole-school emotional literacy
Holme Court School chooses CoolFire to create whole-school emotional literacy, positive mental health and holistic wellbeing on a long-term, sustainable basis
The CoolFire logo - whole school Emotional Literacy, positive mental health and holistic wellbeing for teachers, school staff and students

Whole-School Mental Health and Wellbeing

Whole-school mental health and wellbeing is now an integral part of teaching and learning within the Holme Court school day. This small Special School specialises in teaching pupils on the Dyslexic spectrum – ages seven to sixteen.

Holme Court moved to their new and larger Cambridge site at Cherry Hinton in June 2020. This meant that the school could now build on its previous offer of 34 places. But headteacher, Anita Laws, also wanted to mark this new beginning by introducing CoolFire. The CoolFire Approach not only supports each pupil’s Special Needs, but also positively changes the way both pupils and staff:

Feel, Think and Act – by:

  • Shifting the focus from the brain to “The Intelligent Body”
  • Understanding “Why you feel the way you feel”
  • Actively working with their everyday biochemistry. This creates the constantly changing Mind-Body-Feelings bio-loop
  • Creating and using their own Positive Inputs Framework on a daily basis
  • Discovering an everyday state of Energised Calm

CoolFire : Connect @ Holme Court

Anita chose CoolFire : Connect as the framework to create whole-school Emotional Literacy and positive mental health on a sustainable basis. Here’s their unique timetable showing the five-day programme – all staged on-site in Holme Court’s central hall.

CoolFire timetable: five workshops that focus on core areas of mind body and feelings to develop whole school mental health and wellbeing

CoolFire Gateway – The First Core Workshop

Stretching. Breathwork. Tapping for health. Roaring. Jumping. Running. Shouting. Lying still. Deeply relaxed. Listening. Visualising. Observing. Two breathing as one. Discussing. Discovering. Seven centres – refreshed – Mind, Body & Feelings in balance. Feeling energised – yet so calm. Processing the experiences – sharing, talking, writing, drawing – understanding. Collecting five stars for your own CoolFire Starcard – amazing! How are you feeling now..?

The CoolFire Starcard - each pupil collects stars on their journey of emotional and social discovery
The CoolFire Starcard – each pupil collects stars throughout their CoolFire journey of emotional and social discovery

All this is CoolFire Gateway – and more! Just the first of the three core pupil workshops – that was then followed by Bodyworks and “Hi – I’m your Feelings” over the next two days.

Running, jumping, shouting - all part of the CoolFire Gateway workshop  creating positive mental health and holistic wellbeing for pupils
“Letting Go” – part of the CoolFire Gateway introductory core workshop
Me and my body - a CoolFire workshop exploring self image and self esteem - an important part of positive mental health and holistic wellbeing
“Me and My Body” – Exploring self-image – one of the two additional Holme Court
CoolFire : Connect workshops

The Mind-Body-Feelings (MBF) Equation

Together, these dynamic workshops enabled every Holme Court pupil to explore the Mind-Body-Feelings (MBF) equation through three vital life – principles:

  • We are more than Mind! We are all the result of the constant interaction between Mind, Body and Feelings. CoolFire enables both pupils and staff to work towards a balance of these three forces – an everyday state of Energised Calm.
  • Thought First – or Action..? Neither. You might think that all actions are based in its own thought. But every thought is rooted in a feeling. CoolFire enables you to consciously change that feeling – at will – changing the resulting thought and action.
  • We are a Chemistry kit! Every feeling creates – or is created by – a biochemical event or response. CoolFire helps both pupils and staff to work positively with the Biofeedback Loop – your Mind-Body connection.

With only 10-12 participants per Key Stage group, each pupil quickly grew in confidence to not only find new ways of expression, but new ways of feeling, thinking and working – both with themselves and each other.

Trust and Awareness – exploring what our bodies can do – part of the Bodyworks second core workshop

Innovative CoolFire Resources

The range of highly practical CoolFire resources empowers both staff and pupils to integrate positive mental health and holistic wellbeing into the school and home day on a sustainable basis.

Just 20 – 30 minutes a day is all it takes to develop long-term positive routines, habits and behaviours. The central resources build on and extend the themes of CoolFire : Connect’s core workshops throughout the following year – including:

  • The CoolFire Teacher’s PowerPack: A highly practical 200+ page classroom resource featuring CoolFire techniques and exercises in eight sections. Staff can mix-and-match these to create daily 10 – 20 minute routines that pupils quickly learn and integrate into both classroom practice and their everyday lives. Sections include Early Years; breathwork; 1 minute “Switches”; creative visualisation – and more. There is enough material to create differing sequences and routines throughout an entire academic year.
  • CoolFire : Connect Class Pack: Class based follow-up activities that reinforce the central themes and workshops of the week. These range from teacher-led therapeutic exercises to creative writing and artwork. Some of the work is then exhibited within the Parents Event on the final day of the week.
  • The CoolFire Home Pack: Designed for parents or guardians to join their children in a range of daily CoolFire activities at home. It also features information on sleeping well and the CoolFire Power Breakfasts.
  • The CoolFire Pupil PowerLog: This serves as a journal to record their personal progress and development. It is also a vital resource to convert and process abstract CoolFire experiences into realisations and discoveries in a concrete way. This could be through using one of ten differing CoolFire processing sheets. Pupils can also use writing, artwork and include various multi-media.
The CoolFire teachers classroom PowerPack - 200 pages of information and mix and match CoolFire routines and exercises
The CoolFire Teachers Classroom PowerPack – 200 pages of invaluable information and mix-and-match CoolFire daily routines and exercises

Creating Calm

This twilight workshop gave staff the knowledge and insights to further enrich the delivery of the CoolFire approach with their pupils. But it also provided techniques and exercises that each staff member could use to develop their own holistic wellbeing on a long-term basis. This included:

  • “Taking a step back…” – to create positive action – not re-action
  • Slowing classroom interaction
  • Developing compassion for yourself
  • The relief or eradication of common everyday symptoms such as headaches; Insomnia; Irritable Bowel Syndrome; neck and back pain.
  • – and much more…
Creating Calm - breathe to relieve back and spine pain. A CoolFire approach to developing positive mental health and holistic wellbeing - for teachers and all school staff
Creating Calm – Breathe to Relieve – Neck and Back pain

Assessment and Monitoring

As pupils become more confident in working with CoolFire, staff begin to notice actual change and positive development in their interactions, relationships, attitude, behaviour and approach to their work. CoolFire can also be used to support pupils who are experiencing social and emotional challenges.

We therefore always recommend that each school adopts an established assessment and monitoring tool. This not only recognises development but can also identify potential social and emotional problems that a pupil could be experiencing but perhaps not sharing.

Headteacher, Anita Laws, chose to use the Goodmans Strengths and Difficulties (SDQ) system that creates numerical values from abstracts such as behaviour, empathy, relationships – and more…

Within two weeks of hosting CoolFire : Connect, Anita had received a full set of SDQ responses from Holme Court staff on their pupils – and also from their parents. Pupil development highlighted in future SDQ questionnaires can now be identified from this baseline information.

Six Months On…

Holme Court hosted their CoolFire : Connect week in September 2020…

Six months on: Anita and her team have fully integrated the CoolFire Approach into their everyday teaching and learning on a long-term basis. Using the CoolFire Teachers PowerPack, the sequence of routines and exercises are agreed upon each fortnight. These are then teacher-led at registration times and also briefly used as a focus at the beginning of most lessons. With everyday use, the CoolFire exercises and routines become habit and soon create positive change in many aspects of pupil and staff personal development – often within a few weeks.

Pupils are also encouraged to have fun in practising some CoolFire at home with their parents – particularly to get a good night’s sleep – and when they get-up every morning. There is nothing like the CoolFire Morning Energiser routine – followed by a CoolFire Power Breakfast to set you up for the day.

And Holme Court teachers and staff are noticing positive development in many of their pupils throughout the school – for example:

  • Greater confidence
  • Improved focus and concentration
  • The ability to be more centred and calm
  • Empathetic peer-to-peer, school staff – and parental relationships
  • Active parental involvement
  • – and more…

Anita and/or her team can still call on the inclusive support if needed – by Zoom/Teams/Skype; email – or phone.

The CoolFire Effect

CoolFire - effective teaching and learning through whole school emotional literacy, positive mental health and holistic wellbeing

Over 8,500 young people (ages 3-18+) and 3,500+ teachers and school staff have experienced The CoolFire Effect over the last six years.

Find out more on how your school or Academy Trust can use CoolFire to promote pupil and staff positive mental health, holistic wellbeing – and a whole-school Emotionally Literate culture – as the key to long-term effective teaching and learning.

the lightworks logo

For further details, contact Dave Read

07804 785305

Click here to read more about the amazing work of Holme Court School

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