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St Mark’s Primary School

"'Let Your Light Shine' Matthew 5:16"

Mental Health



In St Mark’s, we chose ‘Perseverance’ as our fifth and final Value as we think it is important for children to learn not to give up if they come across any obstacles but find a way round them or a solution.


The dictionary definition of perseverance means to continue or repeat behaviour even if the going gets tough. We often have to persevere to learn a new skill or understand something. This is a good character trait to develop in childhood as it can be a lifelong skill. Children who learn to persevere become more confident in their own abilities to problem solve when they reach barriers in their life. It is important for children to see their family adults have a go at things and not always succeed first time, this modelling can help children understand everyone sometimes needs to work at things to succeed.





To help children learn about persevering it is essential when setting an activity that the challenge is pitched correctly for individual children so the chances of them completing the activity with effort will be reasonably secure.


For this activity families can play ‘Build a Beetle.’ The rules and templates for beetles are at the bottom of this page to print or copy. At first the game feels easy, but perseverance is needed to get the final parts of the beetle to complete the game. Lots of fun will be had but no-one is allowed to give up until the game is finished and everyone has built their beetle, so the dice will need to be rolled time and time again in some instances! You can decorate your beetle pictures as creatively as possible.

Send your creative artwork into the Let Your Light Shine email address to be shared on the school website;




Although this activity is a game, it also shows children that when they have to work at a new skill or task it can give them a greater sense of pride and achievement when they have achieved their goals. This will lead to greater confidence in trying something new the next time around. Children that have an open mindset towards ‘having a go’ at things and ‘sticking it out’ tend to have positive mental health as they understand they may not get it correct first time around but have the resilience to keep persevering.


It is important for children to learn that not everything in life comes easily and hard work can pay off. There is a sense of self-regulation when children understand they are working towards long term goals. New challenges mean children have to step outside their comfort zone leading to wider life experiences and enriched childhoods.

Build a Beetle Game.

Each family must have a beetle picture each or some paper, some pencils to draw their beetles and a dice. The goal of the game is to be the first player to complete his/her beetle.

(There is a beetle template at the bottom of this page. If you do not have a dice at home, you can make one using the dice template.)


How to play the game:

1.  Each person in the group must roll the dice to see who gets the highest number to go first. If more than one person rolls a number 6, these players must roll again.

2.  The players take turns in rolling the dice.  Whatever number the dice lands on – the player can draw on the corresponding beetle body part. If the player already has that particular body part, they pass the dice to the next player and miss their turn.

3.  You can collect the body parts in any order.

4.  Once a beetle is complete the player has finished the game, but they must still encourage others to also finish. This may take lots of rolls of the dice and perseverance for everyone to finish! Lots of encouragement will be needed from all players.

5. When the game has finished – the beetles can be decorated with crayons, paints, art materials. Remember to send a picture of your finished family beetles into school for the Let Your Light Shine section on the website.

In St Mark’s, we picked ‘Forgiveness’ as one our Values because learning how to respond appropriately to a negative situation is intricate into Christian life. The word ‘forgive’ means to wipe the slate clean and to stop blaming someone or feel upset towards someone for something they have said or done. This does not mean that it is instantly forgotten but it shows an act of love, mercy and grace.
Our families have usually been the first people to show us forgiveness when we were little. Our families are our strong basis for how we learn to be around others. Showing remorse can help children solve problems in a peaceful manner when there has been conflict or if they have made a mistake and need to put things right.
Sometimes we need to say ‘Sorry ‘and show that we mean it. We can do this in many ways.
For instance, we can help people or do a kind action for someone if they have been upset. We can try to fix an item, or help pay towards it, if something has been broken. We can spend time with people to show we care, and we want to put things right.
There are also times when it is thought children may have done something wrong but this may not be the case and they just need to explain themselves in a clear calm way.
Please can children look at the different scenarios at the bottom of this page and discuss a plan of action they would do for each section with their adult at home.
Then children can express themselves in a creative poem around the subject of ‘Forgiveness.’ There is a poem template at the end of this page.
Send your creative artwork into the Let Your Light Shine email address to be shared on the school website;
Everyone makes mistakes at some point. Since we were young, we have all been making mistakes. It is part of how we learn. Risk taking is part of growing up, children will naturally take small risks in their everyday life, such as playing too rough or teasing someone or playing inappropriate games where someone or something gets hurts or broken.
Children need to build resilience around making poor decisions by working towards learning that if we make a mistake, we must learn how to help put it right.
It is also important to recognise there are times when children may be unfairly blamed for things they have not done, so by learning how to manage their feelings in an appropriate calm manner and explain this to adults or friends it can save conflicts arising unnecessarily. This will demonstrate to children a positive way of managing situations.


In St Mark’s, we picked ‘Friendship’ as one our values because it is a life skill that everyone has to learn and will greatly benefit from. For young children it can be tricky, balancing compromise, trust, being kind and supportive whilst having fun and building fantastic memories at the same time. Experience has shown us that pupils, who have a wide social circle, become naturally more confident learners and are easier to adapt to new situations.
St Mark’s was the first primary school in the country to be presented with the ‘E-Safety 360 Award,’ in recognition of our commitment and sharing of good practise amongst all of our pupils in order to educate and keep them as safe as possible with their online friendships.
Children can print or copy the template at the end of this page to use their art skills to create a picture of a good friend. These pictures can be drawn, painted, sketched or decorated with collage materials. Be as creative as possible – use the back of some spare wallpaper to make a life-size friend or use a cardboard box to make a 3D online screen friend. Once children have created their friend, they can then think about what qualities they would like their friend to have, for instance; someone that will play fairly, be kind, share, be supportive and be fun. Please see the table at the end of this page to help with conversation starters. The positive statements could be cut out or copied onto their friendship pictures to help remind them of what makes a good friend.
To extend this activity further, children can explain their best qualities to parents and carers and think about areas they would like to improve with their own skills and friendships. The activity can be simplified for younger children by talking through the qualities in a simplistic manner.
Send your creative artwork into the Let Your Light Shine email address to be shared on the school website;
Secure relationships with peers is a fundamental resilient tool for positive mental health. Having good friends gives a sense of belonging and being included. We all have different relationships with different people. This includes people we live with, people we go to school with and people we know outside of school.
We all like to have friends to play with and share things with, some children like to have a large social circle and others like a smaller closer network. To have good friends we have to be a good friend. It is important for children to understand how their actions can help form and maintain childhood friendships through qualities such as being kind, sharing, supportive and playing fairly.


In St Mark’s, we picked ‘Honesty’ as one our values because being honest is a life-long personal skill to be used in home, school, work, everyday situations. It is not always easy and sometimes children will worry about repercussions and this prevents them from always being honest. If they are listened to and they in turn learn from their mistakes, it will provide them with greater security in being able to be honest in future times. It will also help them to learn about consequences for their actions. The quality of being honest develops good character, friendship skills and confidence.
The dictionary meaning for the word ‘Honesty’ is “when someone is speaking the truth or being fair”. Being honest means that you only say things about people that are true, not made up or rumours. Being honest means that you admit to your actions or what you have said truthfully, even if sometimes it means you will get into trouble.
Children like to hear about their parents and family members life stories, from the present day or when they were younger.
This activity will involve the adults being honest and the children bringing out their creative acting side and role-playing pretending to ‘interview’ their adults and be ‘feeling detectives!’. The children could prepare props such as making a microphone or setting the lounge up as a chat-show style tv programme where everyone can wear their best ‘celebrity clothes!’
The scenario can then be reversed, and the questions turned around on the children with a similar theme where the children can have a turn at answering as honestly as possible. Please see the suggested questions at the end of this page, these can be great conversation starters.
Send your creative artwork into the Let Your Light Shine email address to be shared on the school website;
It is important for children to acknowledge and understand that there is a range of feelings inside all of us. It is ‘ok’ to feel sad, angry, happy, surprised, worried, for instance and that this happens to everyone. The important part of recognising our feelings is learning how to manage them in an appropriate manner.
Therefore, if a child is feeling a particular emotion, they can then learn how to share this and explore if an adult or friend can help them or what they can do to help themselves. This will result in children becoming more resilient and building up coping strategies. Talking in a calm manner about possible scenarios is an excellent way to pre-empt these big emotional blow outs as trigger points and de-escalation tactics can be discussed an advance. By adults modelling their own emotions, for instance; ‘I felt sad when my pet cat died,’ will help develop the child’s own emotional literacy and allow them to start linking feelings, thoughts and actions with a more positive understanding outlook.

In St Mark’s, we picked ‘Hope’ as one our values because as well as being a positive life skill it is also one of our Christian Values to be forward looking.
The Dictionary definition of the word ‘Hope’ is to “want something to happen or to be true”.
For pupils that have hope for good things to happen, it can become inspirational and encourage them to seek creative solutions. These children often have a more positive outlook on life and a greater sense of self-esteem.
We can all think about some personal hopes we have for 2021.
Hope is everywhere we look in nature. From a tiny tree sapling stretching up into the sky hoping to find sunlight, to a squirrel scurrying around the woods always hopeful that he finds some nuts.
For today’s activity please take a local walk outdoors in an area of beauty. Perhaps at Weston Woods, follow a cycle path or visit the Worle Nature Reserve. Take time to look for some new plants growing and see if you can spot any wildlife along the way.
When you find a suitable spot, ask your adult to help you clear an area on the floor. Use leaves, flowers, sticks and rocks to make a nature picture to show something you may hope for in 2021. Frame it if you can with natural items. It could be a picture of a new pet you may hope to own, or you playing with a new friend you may hope to make once school is back to normal. Alternatively, you can spend time creating a pattern or shape with the natural resources. See if you can spot the hope for better weather on the photos at the bottom of this section.
Send your creative artwork into the Let Your Light Shine email address to be shared on the school website;
Being outdoors in natural surroundings improves well-being and lifts moods. It can stimulate learning about the environment whilst giving children’s brains a break from paper and pencil or online learning. Having some good quality family time together outside in your safety bubbles can be a bonding experience and help create some lovely memories. It can also relieve boredom by having a change of scene from the same four walls and use up all that excess energy! We are very lucky to be able to explore a range of ‘green’ areas a safe, socially distanced manner right on our doorstep.