Mental Health and Wellbeing
Curricular Guidance and Resources
Curricular Guidance for Pre-School Education
This guidance provides direction for practitioners on the development of young children’s emotional wellbeing. The pre-school curriculum includes an area of learning called Personal, Social and Emotional Development. While the curriculum is non-statutory at this stage, this is an extremely important area that develops skills which give young children the best opportunity to develop positive dispositions to learning and life.
Living.Learning.Together. [Relevant to FS KS1 KS2 IM]
This comprehensive programme provides seven units for each primary school year from Year 1 to Year 7. It suggests learning activities and methodologies for teachers and supports their provision for the statutory requirements for Personal Development and Mutual Understanding. Themes include:
- self-esteem and self-confidence;
- feelings and emotions (addressed in Unit 2 – the ‘orange unit’ – each year); and
Structured lessons promote the exploration of feelings and strong emotions such as anger, sadness and loss, as well as age-appropriate strategies for coping with worries and stress.
Insync [Relevant to KS3]
Insync explores Personal Development issues at years 8, 9 and 10. Specific themes – ‘Feelings and Emotions’, ‘Managing Influences and Making Decisions’ and ‘Self-Concept’ – address the messages associated with positive mental health.
Growing for the Future [Relevant to KS1 KS2]
This month-by-month resource for primary schools promotes healthy eating, food production and outdoor activity.
Financial Capability [Relevant to FS KS1 KS2 KS3 KS4 SEN]
Financial choices and decisions have significant consequences for future financial wellbeing. Financial capability is an important life skill for everyone; being able to make sound financial decisions is key to identifying and making the best use of the opportunities in today’s changing world.
Active Citizenship [Relevant to KS3 KS4]
Active Citizenship links to the Local and Global Citizenship and Drama components of the Northern Ireland Curriculum at Key Stages 3 and 4. These resources examine topics such as democracy and lawfulness, the impact of organised crime and paramilitaries, and how pupils can make a positive contribution to their community and society.
Understanding Homelessness [Relevant to KS1 KS2 KS3 KS4]
Education plays a vital role in raising awareness and equipping pupils with the knowledge, skills and resilience to avoid homelessness. This resource aims to empower the next generation of young people to take action to prevent homelessness in the future. It caters for Key Stages 1 to 4, providing lessons and activities to support you to teach pupils about local and broader issues of homelessness in an age-appropriate way.
Relationships and Sexuality Education [Relevant to KS1 KS2 KS3 KS4]
Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) helps children and young people acquire knowledge, understanding and skills, and develop attitudes, beliefs and values about sexual identity, relationships and intimacy. Effective RSE, which is taught in a sensitive and inclusive manner, encourages children and young people to value themselves as individuals and to make responsible and well-informed decisions about their lives.
The RSE hub includes materials on issues such as ‘Healthy, Positive Sexual Expression and Relationships’ and ‘Social Media and Its Effects on Relationships and Self-Esteem’.
Special Educational Needs: Severe/Moderate Learning Difficulties
For learners with cognitive learning difficulties, the following thematic units focus on developing understanding of personal development at an appropriate level.
To Be Me: Thematic Units
These units for primary aged learners support teachers in the planning, teaching and assessing of Personal Development and Mutual Understanding within the curriculum.
Post-Primary LLW Units
This range of LLW units for post-primary aged learners allows them to explore some of the issues and challenges that will face them as independent adults.
Special Educational Needs: Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Guidance on Identifying and Supporting Learners with Social, Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties
Our main guidance for teachers focuses on learners aged 8 to 15 in mainstream schools. We also provide additional materials that focus both on young learners and on those who have severe learning difficulties.