It was Ready, Freddy Go for children at Chilton Primary School in Ramsgate who were engrossed by the latest NHS mental health learning show aimed at primary schools across Kent.
Pupils from Reception to Year 5 joined in the fun performance inside the giant inflatable Fantastic Fred Experience pop up classroom.
Youngsters were quizzed, did some ‘flossing’ moves and laughed a lot during the interactive show which had a simple yet very important message about how children can look after their mental health.
Actors Florence Wright and Lucy Blake, from Hobgoblin Theatre, became ‘the professor and assistant ‘super hero’ Fred’ talking about good mental health, wrapped up in comedy and performance.
The Professor told the audience: “What we share with you today will change your life. If we want to do fantastic things we have to look after our super-computer – our mind.”
The letters in Fred’s name stand for the message themes: Food – eating the right things; Rest – getting enough sleep; Exercise – being active; Digital Devices – managing time spent online.
Emily Hughes is the special educational needs co-ordinator for the Viking Academy Trust that includes Chilton, Upton Junior School in Broadstairs, and Ramsgate Arts Primary School.
She said: “At Chilton we want to develop an awareness of children’s wellbeing and provide our pupils with a toolkit of ideas that they can use throughout their lives to promote them to be happy and healthy.
“Fantastic Fred is a fun way of showing children of all ages how they can make small changes to their daily lives to achieve this.”
Year 2 teacher Helen Rowland-Hill watched the performance with her pupils. She said: “Understanding how mental health works is very important. With Fred they are remembering food, rest, exercise and devices and you do get a lot of children who aren’t getting enough rest and are using devices too much.
“I will now take my children back to class and we will discuss it further and spend the last 15 minutes of the day looking at what we learned about mental health.”
Viking Academy Trust Executive Head Teacher Michaela Lewis said “Developing awareness of children’s well-being is at the forefront of the pastoral support all staff at Viking see as a priority.
“Working in partnership with the NHS and other organisations like Headstart, can only strengthen the work we do in school to support our children and families on a daily basis.”
Ramsgate GP Dr Jihad Malasi, Clinical Chair and Lead for Mental Health on the NHS Thanet Clinical Commissioning Group, enjoyed the show. He said: “It provided a lot of important and positive information delivered in a way that children can relate to.
“It is critical to discuss and address mental health at primary levels – these children will become our adults and parents of the future.”
Dr Malasi added that half of adults with mental health issues developed them before they were 14 years old, 75 per cent before they were 24.
Rachel Jones, Chair of Kent Children and Young People Mental Health and Well Being Transformation Board, said: “The NHS believes that it is essential to reach primary school-age children and teach them positive ways in which they can look after their mental health. By providing support through our primary schools, we aim to prevent many young people from developing mental health challenges as they get older.”
Fantastic Fred Facts:
*Kent’s NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups launched the free Good Mental Health Matters resource for Kent’s Primary schoolchildren in March, and ever since it has been in high demand.
*With bookings already being taken into Spring 2020 and 80% of availability already claimed, those schools who haven’t yet expressed their interest are being encouraged to do so soon to avoid missing out. The current bookings will reach in excess of 42,000 children in Kent with a positive mental health message.
*The Fantastic Fred Experience is part of the Good Mental Health Matters campaign, launched in 2016, to help raise awareness of mental health among young people in Kent and equip children at a very early age to improve their lifelong emotional resilience.
*Schools can book via the Fantastic Fred team on 01892 750900, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or search for the Good Mental Health Matters website.
Report Peter Barnett