Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate have launched a brand new ‘Woodland and Wildlife’ arm to their impressive pastoral programme, something that they called upon in their approach to World Mental Health Day this October.
‘Woodland and Wildlife’ is the latest addition to the THRIVE@QE pastoral programme, with sessions based in a dedicated outdoor space on the Collegiate’s countryside campus.
The programme has enjoyed an exciting start as the children have already taken part in an autumn scavenger hunt and made apple bird feeders which have been hung up on the trees.
Plans are already in place for the next few weeks as well, with the opportunity for the children to create clay critters, be autumn tree and leaf defectives, as well as build their own bug hotel.
Queen Ethelburga’s are certainly striving to make the most out of their new scheme, with the dedicated outdoors space also used for mindfulness and meditation.
The THRIVE@QE programme offers a range of support for positive mental health and wellbeing, as students have the chance to talk on a one-to-one basis or as part of scheduled groups.
THRIVE@QE also includes activities and support for; building self-esteem, strategies to help with exam stress, adjusting to change, home sickness, coping with a loss or bereavement, staying safe online, bounce back, and Forces and international support.
During Mental Health Awareness Week in May, Queen Ethelburga’s embraced nature and what it can contribute to wellbeing by organising a range of outdoor activities for preparatory school pupils, a morning of flower spotting for Kindergarten children and using the campus’ Secret Garden as the base for their award-winning pastoral scheme.
Rebecca Thackray, Assistant Head of Pastoral Care at Queen Ethelburga’s, feels that the ‘Woodland and Wildlife’ sessions offer an opportunity to ‘connect with nature a bit more’, the chance to educate students about wildlife and also give them a ‘peaceful space’ away from school buildings and boarding houses:
“The national Mental Health Awareness Week in May focused on promoting the benefits of nature. This was around the same time that we were reviewing our THRIVE@QE provision ready for the year ahead.
“We thought it may benefit students to have the opportunity to connect with nature a bit more and take advantage of the grounds that surround QE, using the space for fun and relaxing activities whilst educating students about how to encourage wildlife.
“Being away from school buildings and the boarding houses also offers an alternative and peaceful space for a moment of calm.”
Care is the most important element within the Queen Ethelburga’s community; every member of the Collegiate, staff and student, is responsible for the pastoral care and happiness of the site. There is focus on developing students’ skills and resilience, whilst nurturing their wellbeing.
The school has a dedicated team of trained staff on call 24 hours a day to offer support and guidance to all students within a specialist welfare area. As well as the pastoral staff, Queen Ethelburga’s also has a team of students who are on hand to help around the school and in the boarding houses.
Everything possible is done to prepare students for the many experiences they will encounter as they move through their educational journey and future life.
The Thorpe Underwood Estate site that the school have been based in since 1991 was home to literary great Anne Bronte and supported a stew pond that fed monks on their travels to and from Fountains Abbey.
Queen Ethelburga’s welcome boys and girls from the three months old, all the way through to Year 13.