Short film screening promotes mental wellbeing in children

Diwrnod Meddwlgarwch Bella, meaning Bella's day of mindfulness,is a creative collaboration between Ysgol Gymraeg Coed y Gof, Valley and Vale Community Arts and BAFTA award winning animator Jane Hubbard.

The project, funded by the Arts Council of Wales was the idea of Ysgol Coed y Gof in order to focus on and improve the mental health and wellbeing of children at the school.

Mindfulness encourages listening to our thoughts, feelings and the world around us which can help improve mental wellbeing. Introductory sessions on the neurodevelopmental benefits of mindfulness were carried out before mindfulness practitioner Caroline Martin taught pupils techniques and meditations to help develop their skills.

Animator Jane Hubbard and her daughter Stella came on board to work with the pupils in developing animations to present mindfulness from their perspective to the rest of the school.

Ysgol Coed y Gof teacher and project leader, Nia Norman said: "From the outset it was decided that the project should be pupil led and was presented to year five pupils as an opportunity to learn mindfulness techniques.

"Under Jane and Stella's guidance, the pupils developed characters and a script about how mindfulness could make a difference in children's lives and why they should practice mindfulness.  Alongside this film, the pupils created animated mindfulness meditations for children to use."

Cabinet Member for Education, Employment and Skills, Cabinet Sarah Merry said: "Mental Health awareness and the importance it has on young people has been emphasised recently and it is clear that promoting mental wellbeing from a young age is so important.

"This exciting project shows how mindfulness techniques can benefit children by helping themto take a moment for thoughts and feelings, helping them to understand themselves better and enjoy the world around them.

"As a child-led project, the film shows the journey the children undertook, the benefits of mindfulness and how these are now being implemented across the school. It also further cements Cardiff as a Child Friendly City where the voices of children are heard and help shape their environment and community."

Diwrnod Meddwlgarwch Bellawill now be made publicly available for schools across Wales to use as a way to introduce mindfulness techniques in the classroom.