Category: News

March 5th, 2019 by Be the Jellyfish Team

I have a confession….I have been #HINCHED! Some of you reading this may be thinking, huh?!

Let me explain. I am one of 1.8 Million followers of Sophie Hinchliffe’s social media account, she is an Instagram sensation and modern day cleaning guru. Her time saving hints and tips on how to manage, organise and clean your home has seen her build a large and loyal following who are fondly referred to as the #hincharmy.

But Mrs Hinchliffe is not only a guide (and beacon of light!) for those of us who are overwhelmed with the daily grind of chores which pile up alongside all the other spinning plates of life. I for one find her very amusing to watch, she has the ability to cheer up your day with a quick video but there is another reason she is so loved… She also openly welcomes her audience into her life and honestly shares her personal battle with anxiety. She uses her platform to support and encourage other #hinchers who are engaged in their own battles and inspires so many with her positivity.

It seems hinching (AKA cleaning) is a modern day tool for many to manage their own mental health. Whether it is the satisfaction of accomplishing a small goal, ticking off a ‘to do’ list or simply watching someone you can relate to succeed day to day, it is proving to be very healing for thousands of people. All this is apparent through the hundreds of messages Sophie receives and shares on her page and in her ever growing following.

Her account is not just a hub for those whose goal it is to be a domestic god/goddesses or cleaning enthusiasts. It is a virtual sanctuary for people to join together, share and voice their own demons.

Ultimately, like Be the Jellyfish it is a place where people express and communicate their thoughts and feelings. As our readers are fully aware this is just as important for children as it is adults, we provide the house ( or

environment) for children to share their emotions. So, is it a tidy house, tidy mind? or positive environment = positive wellbeing?

Posted in News

February 11th, 2019 by Be the Jellyfish Team
Be creative with your love!

An unexpected Christmas gift in the form of Stephen Fry’s Mythos has resulted in my January being well and truly emerged in the world of Greek myth; the colourful characters, the complex relationships and the fantastical tale. Perhaps it’s because of the recently passed St Dwynwen’s Day, that Jellyfish Lucy is getting married this year or that Valentine’s is fast approaching but the chapter that won’t leave my mind is that of Cupid and Psyche.

I hadn’t known that the ancient Greeks had many words to describe love and deities to protect and champion it. I was previously aware of love as a concept being separated into forms but Mythos, the Erotes and the words for love have without doubt reignited my thinking of love and its complexity.

Romantic love, selfless love, love between family and friends and patriotic love are all undoubtedly all love in its greater sense and yet not all equally celebrated. The greeting cards around at the moment, leave us in no doubt to as to which love Valentine’s day celebrates.

However more and more I hear of people sending a token of love to a parent, a child, a sibling, a friend, even a colleague and surely this can only be a good thing!

There is no doubting that love has many forms, just ask the ancient Greeks, so when we celebrate love let’s not forgot that. Let’s be creative and not  limit the ‘I love you’ in February to Valentines. On, before and after February the 14th let’s show love to all those we love and all those in need of love – including ourselves!

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January 10th, 2019 by Be the Jellyfish Team

You may have noticed that the Be the Jellyfish tag line is ‘Supporting Social and Emotional Wellbeing’ but what exactly is social and emotional wellbeing? And how do we support it?

Well let’s begin with ‘wellbeing’ as a word. The Oxford English Dictionary defines wellbeing as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy or happy.’ When we feel comfortable within ourselves and with those around us, when we feel healthy both physically and mentally, and when we are able to experience a sense of happiness then without doubt the overall feel is being in the moment, living our lives and enjoying it – experiencing a sense of wellbeing!

Our aim in supporting emotional wellbeing seek to support children in having this comfortable, healthy and happy relationship with themselves. To strengthen and build a sense of self confidence and worth, to be able to recognise and communicate feelings and emotions of all kinds and to have the resilience to accept and manage them as a part of everyday life.

With supporting social wellbeing we extend the above to helping children to experience and acquire the skills that can help enable them to have a more comfortable, healthy and happy interaction and relationship with others.

In order to achieve these aims, the Be the Jellyfish programme facilitates relaxation and sensory experiences. It welcomes opportunities for creative expression and builds in quality time for reflection.

The programme and resources utilise the Jellyfish strands which guide children to Discover, Explore, Express, Manage and Develop aspects of themselves and their relationships with others.  It encourages and supports adults to create an environment where children feel valued and accepted; guiding them to facilitate activities that invite children to interact and communicate.  

All in, with the aim of helping children to experience comfort, health and happiness!

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October 25th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

What if not all ghosts yelled ‘Boo!’

It’s a thought isn’t it!

What if some ghosts were actually very shy, anxious or happy? Certainly in recent years we’ve had ‘Moaning Myrtle’ and of course dear ‘Casper’ who was known to be a friendly ghost but generally speaking, at this ghoul filled time of year, ghosts are stereotypically ‘Boo!’ in character.

‘Boo’ suggests a desire to frighten, a will to shock and in all fairness a lack of imagination. But what if we’re wrong? What if they too experience a wealth of feelings and emotions and the only way in which they communicate them is through the medium of ‘Boo!’?

If this were true, then in one way some adults and children wouldn’t be wrong in comparing themselves to ghosts, and if that were the case perhaps the rest of us should try to more understanding of certain behaviours. Perhaps they are merely a mask for something else?

The Be the Jellyfish programme and resources help children to express their true self and to communicate some of those thoughts and feelings that may otherwise be hidden. If ghosts do exist we’d love to think that they too would benefit from a Jellyfish Class and a spot of Creative Chatter too!

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August 17th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Time to sing www.cnbc.com

I was recently sent a video of my 7 year old nephew singing. His mother had put him to bed, wished him sweet dreams and turned out the light. Passing his bedroom door that evening she heard the sound of her sons voice. Song after song from the film the Greatest Showman, sung so sweetly until at last the singing stopped and sleep prevailed.

Needless to say, the video clip of his singing through his bedroom door is absolutely adorable and has firmly established the Greatest Showman soundtrack as my ear worm for the week. Even as I write this, I hum along in my own little world and feel so calm and content.

This got me thinking about the wellbeing benefits of singing and how wonderful it was that my nephew, whether consciously or unconsciously was able to use this medium to relax, soothe and send himself off to sleep.

So what are the benefits and why should we all be singing? This question took me to Google and the Take Lessons Live site.  It seems that singing is a marvel when it comes it our physical, social and emotional health and wellbeing. Singing not only improves our posture, respiratory and circulatory systems but it also aids sleep (I knew my nephew was on to a good thing!), reduces stress, acts as a natural antidepressant, helps improve our confidence, communication and our relationships with others. What’s not to love?!

So let’s follow my nephews lead and sing! Sing gently and lovingly, sing our hearts our and sing as though no one is listening.

“Ah but I can’t sing,” I hear people say.

Yes you can, we an all sing! The Be the Jellyfish motto applies here – There is ‘no right or wrong’ when it comes to creating, so create and nurture your voice, your sound, your song and feel the benefits today.

Sarah @bethejellyfish

 

 

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July 4th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Where did ‘Be the Jellyfish’ come from?
What does it mean to ‘Be the Jellyfish’?
Why ‘ Be the Jellyfish’?

We get asked these questions a lot! It’s only natural, Be the Jellyfish, our business name is an unusual one.  It is also a name we love, a name that intrigues and thankfully a name people remember!

We thought it might be interesting to share our answers on the blog!

Where did ‘Be the Jellyfish’ come from?

That’s simple. It came from one of our first classes when Lucy and I were both still teaching, whilst trialling out art and relaxation classes as after school and lunch time groups.  One class was themed ‘under the sea’ and during one of the activities we asked the children to ‘be’ various kinds of sea creatures – a jellyfish was one of them!

As the children were moving around the space, impersonating their best jellyfish forms, one boy came up to us and said, “Miss, I really feel like a jellyfish!” He looked so calm, so relaxed and moved so quietly that we smiled and thought little more about it.

Months later when we decided to go ahead and make the programme available to more children, we spent hours thinking of a name that wasn’t already taken. It was several cups of tea and a few cheese scones later that we both remembered what that young man had said. And we thought about how amazing it would be if all children could feel like he did, if all children could ‘Be the Jellyfish,’ and so it was decided!

What does it mean to ‘Be the Jellyfish’?

The more we thought about what ‘Be the Jellyfish’ actually meant the more it made sense. You just have watch a jellyfish swim in an aquarium, it’s mesmerising and incredibly relaxing. Similarly, a jellyfish bobbing along in the sea looks as though it has not a care in the world. They are simple yet complicated, dull yet colourful, expressionless yet intriguing! Unlike us, jellyfish don’t have a brain, a heart or a centralised nervous system. They are almost a blank canvas when it comes to thoughts, feelings and emotion but like us, they do come in all different shapes, colours and sizes.

With all this in mind, we concluded that to ‘Be the Jellyfish’ was to experience a sense of calm, creativity and wellbeing. To be in the moment, to explore and express emotions safely and to recognise and be accepting of ourselves and others. Everything we have created through the Jellyfish programme and resources was designed achieve this.

Why ‘Be the Jellyfish’? 

The simple answer is how could we not?!

For more information about us, our Jellyfish programme and resources why not visit us today.

 

 

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June 21st, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Exercise aids a healthy mind

At Jellyfish HQ we are firm believers in ‘a healthy body means a healthy mind’. So whilst recovering on the sofa at home after an evening of team sport with my fellow Jellyfish Sarah, I felt inspired to write today’s blog about achieving a healthy mind.

Although I am genuinely exhausted from physically working hard I always feel the same uplifting buzz following aerobic activity. The sense of achievement really makes me feel like I could conquer the world…however, my legs feel like jelly, I am hotter than the sun and redder than my tomato juice!

Since my son was born, I  have spent the best part of a year gradually encorporating time in my week to do some form of exercise. The benefits to my overall wellbeing have been wonderful. I feel stronger, energised and my general mood is greatly improved with a feeling of positivity.

We would encourage anybody to give activity a go. Whether it be a a country walk or a team sport, the positive endorphins created are fantastic for combating emotions such as stress, anxiety and low energy.

It is no surprise that in this generation, children are being encouraged to exercise to support not only their physical health, but also for a healthy mind.

At Be the Jellyfish we support a healthy mind by incorporating art, relaxation and physical activities in the Jellyfish Programme.

To discover more about how we can help you support children to achieve a healthy mind get in touch. today.

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June 20th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

An interesting blog post form Partnership for Children about the importance of language choices when communicating with children with autism.

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May 9th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

It’s that time of year again. Children, parents and teachers are feeling the stress of the impending Year 6 SATs examination week. We don’t want to launch into one about SATs, preparing for and taking tests is a part of life, but why do they have to be so stressful?

We’ve lost count of the times that we’ve told children to “just try their best” and “not to worry”, “nothing bad will happen”, “the sky won’t fall down”, “you will still be you”, “you will still be loved” and yet the eyes are still filled with fear, the minds still frozen, the bodies still tense and the tummies still churning.

We came across some sound advice from the NHS designed to help children cope with exam stress. This is wonderful advice and not alone in offering help; the internet is full of super advice and strategies for exam stress and anxiety, but it saddens us that such help is now needed by so many children country and worldwide.


We as adults must all take a step back and review how we are promoting exams and test to children. We advise asking yourself some of the following questions to determine how we are impacting the perception of tests, in the eyes of the children in our care.

Are we giving examinations such as SATS too much ‘airtime’?

Are we unwittingly adding additional pressure?

Are we more concerned about what thetests say about us as parents? As teachers?

Ensure that SATs testing and testing in general does not come before a child’s wellbeing. And if you need any extra help, in short and long term strategies for helping the children in your care, please get in touch. We’d love to talk to you about how Be the Jellyfish can help.

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April 6th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

We recently had the pleasure of meeting Sophia Giblin, founder of the Clear Sky Children’s Charity. We believe that Clear Sky is the perfect follow on intervention for children identified through the Jellyfish Programme as requiring more specialist support.

Clear Sky logo

Set up in 2010 to meet the growing mental health needs of children, Clear Sky provides affordable and accessible Play & Creative Arts Therapy services to schools. This therapy is for any child who is struggling with emotional or behavioural difficulties, or who has experienced trauma.

The charity has proven hugely successful in Oxfordshire, employing 15 therapists to work with nearly 70 children per week in schools across Oxon and Bucks. Through their network of qualified therapists they are now looking to extend their services to cover the South of England including Berkshire, Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey.

As well as providing one-to-one Play & Creative Arts Therapy to children, they also provide parent groups and training for school staff. More information about the services they provide can be found here.

The support Clear Sky offers is needed more than ever in the face of cuts to children’s services and with such long waiting lists for CAMHS. Working with Clear Sky, schools can be assured that they have weekly mental health support for their pupils who are in need.

We look forward to forging links with this brilliant charity.

If you want to know more about how Be the Jellyfish can support general wellbeing in your school, please find all of the information on our training programmes here.

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March 19th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

With the snow melting and spring flowers in bloom we thought we’d share an appropriate Creative Chatter activity for you to print off and use.

This is just one of twenty five reusable themed drawing activities, taken from our Creative Chatter book. This activity is linked to the Be the Jellyfish ‘discover’ strand and helps children (and adults) discover a little more about themselves.

Free Flower CC Activity

This sheet explains all about the aims of Be the Jellyfish and more about what the strands are all about.

For more super Creative Chatter activities visit the Be the Jellyfish shop

 

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February 23rd, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team


A bullying ‘game’ between cat and mouse this morning got me thinking about the issue of bullying in schools.

You see, my youngest cat Angelica (don’t be fooled by the name) brought home a live mouse. I don’t blame her of course, she’s a cat, that’s what they do. Needless to say, a long hour was spent negotiating the release of the mouse I came to name Cyril.  Thankfully I succeeded, and he escaped unharmed.

You can only imagine my dismay, when a few hours later I discovered them both in the garden, engaged in yet another game of Tom and Jerry!

No amount of Dreamies could lure Angelica away this time. And being in the garden it was impossible to separate cat from mouse. Luckily, Cyril turned out to be plucky chap and did eventually escape her grasp, though not without enduring a fair amount of ‘paw play’.

Although I knew Cyril had escaped his tormentor, I didn’t know if this time he was unharmed. I felt a little guilty. I had wrongly believed that I had solved his nightmare earlier that day but hadn’t.

It was a polite reminder for me that bullying is a complex issue. Like cats, bullies are clever but also like cats, bullies have a need. It is our responsibility as adults to help both ‘cat’ and ‘mouse’ in the bullying game because having a word or keeping an eye isn’t nearly enough.

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February 7th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

So this year the focus for Place2Be is #BeingOurselves. What a brilliant notion and yet one that can, in reality, be difficult to achieve.

For so many children being themselves is a shameful, often punishable act. In their everyday lives it is not unusual to feel that they have to hide aspects of themselves; their character, their sexuality, thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

My partner is a Scout leader. He often hosts a music night whereby each Scout brings along a piece of music of their own choosing. What he loves about these evenings is the diversity in musical tastes, but what always surprises him is the embarrassment so many of the Scouts feel when sharing their music choices. Musical taste is so personal and can easily be seen as one of the many windows that give others a glimpse of who we really are.  Such windows can make children feel vulnerable from attack, ridicule and judgement. It is not surprising then to find that for some it is easier to keep the blinds closed!

At Be the Jellyfish however we aim to support children to open those blinds. Our programme and resources enable children to Discover, Explore, Express, Manage and Develop themselves. All crucial steps towards accepting, celebrating and #BeingOurselves!

Please get in touch if we can help you support the children in your care.

 

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January 19th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Thankful for a rainbow on a January blues day

Thankful for a rainbow on a January blues day

January blues. Although I had felt them brewing since the tree came down, I thought I’d escaped them. But sure enough, I could feel them creeping up on me yesterday afternoon. Boom, like a big, black cloud of doom and despair.

The trigger? The knowledge that at some point I had to leave the warmth and venture out into the cold and grey. Once the clock hit 4.30 I knew that I could no longer put off my errand and reluctantly put on my boots, zipped up my coat and stepped out into the street. Hands in pockets, shoulders up and chin tucked firmly down into my collar. I grumbled to myself as I went on my way.

However, suddenly I looked up and I spotted the most awe-inspiring rainbow I have ever seen. Arching perfectly against the brooding, darkening sky, I cannot tell you the whoosh of happiness and sense of wellbeing I felt at seeing it. It was a feeling that accompanied me to my destination and back again, a feeling of being lucky!

Lucky that I went outside when I did.

Lucky that I am able to go outside as and when I want to.

Lucky that I saw that rainbow.

Lucky that I am able to physically see such wonders.

In a nutshell, this chance encounter with a rainbow pulled me out of my January blues. It  filled my being with colour, awe, wonder, happiness and perhaps most overwhelmingly, thankfulness. This got me thinking… I am going start a ‘thank you’ diary. Each day I will endeavour to list at least two things that I am thankful for.

I am already looking forward to reading it over next January; a sure way to make those January blues bright!

Sarah@bethejellyfish

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January 4th, 2018 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Jellyfish cards

New year, new beginnings and so what better way to communicate an aspect of yourself that you want to work on this year than through the jellyfish metaphor! Our Jellyfish Cards are a perfect tool for the whole class or with an individual. Simply find a jellyfish that encompasses the you that you would like to embrace this 2018 or draw one of your own.

Perhaps a sporty jellyfish, an assertive jellyfish, an organised jellyfish or a happy jellyfish?

Stuck for ideas?

Our Jellyfish cards depict 47 different jellyfish, feelings, emotions, states of being that children (and adults) can resonate with.

Follow on tasks could include discussion and advice that could be given to the jellyfish to achieve their goal/s.

Find all of our wellbeing resources, including our Jellyfish Cards here.

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December 11th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Goodness, how is it already December 10th?!  Only fourteen more doors to open on the advent calendar and there are still cards to write, gifts to be bought, food to sort, naughty elves to position, wrapping to undertake, hours to work, rooms clean and to homes decorate – Sound familiar?

There is no doubting that Christmas is a busy time for adults and the annual internal ticking clock seems to tick all the more louder as the number of sleeps until Christmas morning become fewer and fewer…So take a step back.  Breathe deeply. Prioritise.  What really needs to be done and what is just being done because you think it is expected of you?

At this time of year, we always like to bring to mind the knowledge that the greatest gifts are those of LOVE, TIME and FRIENDSHIP.  If somehow any of these three gifts is being neglected in our Christmas preparations, we stop and reconsider if what we are doing is really necessary to gifting LOVE, TIME and FRIENDSHIP to those around us.  If the answer is no, we don’t continue with it.

As they grow, children won’t remember the presents but they will remember the love you show them, the time you spend with them and the friendship you offer them.

 

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November 20th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

#ChildrenTakeOver has been all over social media today as it is 2017’s Children’s Day theme.

This got us to thinking what the world would be like if children really did takeover from adults.
Family, friendship, fairness, caring for the environment and animal welfare are all things that many children worry and feel passionately about.

We’ve lost count of the number of children we have known who have adopted wild animals, raised money for a charity, given a shoe box gift, collected litter. Lovingly drawn a picture for a family member, written a caring note to a friend and stood up for someone in need.

The compassion, understanding and acceptance that children have for one-another, regardless of nationality, skin colour, ability, economic background, home life and gender; the way that other cultures and traditions excite and fascinate them and their daily acts and declarations of love to those around them, are all qualities that many adults would do well to adopt.

So what would the world be like? A world where humankind worked together for the greater good of the planet, the animal and plant kingdoms.

Sharing resources, helping those in need.

Celebrating and embracing differences.

Universal love, friendship, tolerance and fairness.

Sounds like paradise!
#ChildrenTakeOver

Posted in News

November 1st, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

The moment before a firework goes off is a moment of stillness and silence. A moment of waiting and apprehension. A moment before we see what the firework will be and what it will become. Thoughts such as: Will it be spectacular? The best? Worst? Dullest? may cross the minds of the crowd eagerly awaiting but in truth these thoughts are worthless and quickly forgotten for regardless of the size, expense or chemical make up, each firework is simply what it is and what is was intended to be – A beautiful beloved light.
We could have similar thoughts about ourselves, in fact many of us do and this often holds us back from showing and being who we really are. We are all special, all unique, all beautiful.
So why not let your firework off this November 5th? It takes a brave person to show their colour, their sound, their pattern, their self and so in that bravery there can be no fail, no disappointment, no shame. For no matter how ‘small’, ‘dull’, ‘boring’, ‘plain’ some fireworks may perceive themselves, they are all beautiful, all special, all joy giving and all deserving of their moment set high in the night sky.XX

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October 24th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Such an enjoyable autumn Jellyfish community workshop with a great group of children yesterday morning. The sensory area and peer massage proved really popular with many of the children and the coloured moon sand was a big hit!

Considering that the room was awash with paint, glitter, glue, stickers, chalks, modelling dough and the likes, parents commented on how relaxed and calm the atmosphere was.

As always, we were blown away and inspired by the children’s creations and came away feeling so chilled that a coffee was needed to ping-back to reality!

It was lovely to see the children leave us happy and excited to share their creations with their families. We look forward to seeing many of them again on Thursday for Halloween Jellyfish as well as welcoming new children to the group.

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October 2nd, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Would you like to become a licenced Community Jellyfish Teacher and run your own Jellyfish classes and workshops?
Then join us in Reigate on Saturday, October 28th at 10am to discover how!

We will be at Reigate Community Centre (Room F2), 53 High Street, Reigate RH2 9AE at 10 am for an informal meet, chat and insight into becoming a Community Jellyfish Teacher.

For more information or to book your free place just drop us an email at: hello@bethejellyfish.com or contact us via our Contact Form.

Additionally, if you are in the area please feel free just to drop by!

Please note:
Community Jellyfish Teachers must have previous experience of working with children and be willing to obtain a DBS certificate.

Posted in News

September 11th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Half Term Workshops

We are excited to confirm that we have two workshops confirmed for the October half term for children aged 5-11!
Both workshops will be held at Chequer Meads Arts Centre, East Grinstead. 9.30-11.00

Autumn Jellyfish Workshop 23/10/17

A cosy autumnal workshop using art and craft materials and a range of sensory relaxation activities to explore and communicate this beautiful time of year.

Halloween Jellyfish Workshop 26/10/17

Join us for chilling good chillout time and create some spooky artwork to take home.

Workshops are priced at £10.00 per child per class with a special offer of £16.00 if you book onto both workshops!
To book a place/places simply email us or fill in the contact form.

Posted in News

September 5th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Free Worry Jellyfish

Download your Free Worry Jellyfish PDF here::

Posted in News

September 5th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Back to school anxiety – Teachers get it too

Many children experience nervousness and anxiety at the thought of returning to school in September after the summer break but did you know that teachers commonly experience this too?

Of course to be apprehensive about the new school year is normal. By the end of the summer term you will have known your pupils inside out, how they learnt, what they excelled at, found challenging, loved, hated, worried about, set them off, not to mention the ins and outs of their friendships and family life.

But then they leave, move on and you are faced with new faces, all looking to you for reassurance, routine, structure and learning. Most of us take a deep breath, smile and get on with the job and the nerves subside once you relise you haven’t forgotten to teach after all and that the needs of these children are not too dissimilar to your last year group.

For some teachers however, the weeks and days before starting back can be hellish. Filled with upsetting thoughts, dreams, sleepless nights, illness and panic. The thought of doing the job, albeit a job you love, the responsibilities, expectations and pressures you place on yourself can be overwhelming and upsetting. I know, I was one of those teachers.

Before c0-founding Be The Jellyfish with Lucy I had taught successfully for many years. I was popular with the children, respected by the parents and considered to be an outstanding teacher. I also have an anxiety and panic disorder so as you can imagine, new terms were always a challenge. However over the years I acquired a number of strategies that really helped me to do the job I loved and to do it well.

Visualise

Generally teachers like to feel in control of every aspect of the school day but an unfortunate fact is that no matter what we do to prepare we cannot control everything! So don’t predict and don’t rehearse ways to prevent and resolve situations that haven’t yet arisen as this can raise anxiety levels, especially as you realise that there are so many factors that are unpredictable and that you have no control over.
Instead visualise yourself in your classroom, feeling relaxed, teaching well. Picture the children engaged, happy and enjoying their learning and if negative thoughts pop into your mind just acknowledge them, let them pass and tell them you’ll deal with it IF it happens.

Prepare

There is no such thing as an empty To Do List for teachers but the trick is to be as organised and prepared in a general sense as this gives you a secure foundation to work from once the list items clock up!
Sufficient stationary, exercise books, enough chairs and tables for the children and a tidy classroom all help to provide simple security and structure to your day. Having your long and midterm plans in place is also important so you know where you are headed and also setting up your assessment files, initial seating plan and groups before term starts can all help you to feel prepared.

Your classroom – Your sanctuary

Spend as much time in your classroom as possible. This is can be your space and your sanctuary. No doubt you have already spent time over the holidays rearranging furniture, labelling drawers, backing display boards and laminating anything in sight but now spend time with your room before the children arrive. Sit at your desk/on a chair, sip your favourite hot drink and take a few deep breaths. You have done your very best to make your classroom a nurturing space where children will learn and grow. This is your space, the room where you will prepare for, facilitate and assess learning. You will spend time here before the children arrive each day and after they leave so, where possible make it your special space.
I used to always ensure that I had my favourite herbal tea, hand cream and essential oils to hand as a little treat and provide me with familiar comfort every day.

Breathe

Deep breaths in through nose and out through the mouth are invaluable. The children love doing them too so make start your day this way!

Affirmations

Deep down you know you are prepped and you know what you are doing and yet anxiety has a nasty way of making you doubt yourself and all that you do. Remind yourself that you have got this. At the end of the day you will do what it takes to help those children and you will do that to the best of your ability – No one can ask more of you.
Save and reread all those lovely pictures, notes, cards and letters given to you by past pupils and parents they will help affirm the teacher you are.

List the positives

There is no getting away from the fact that being a teacher is hard work but focusing thoughts about the work load, the late nights, lack of weekends, endless marking, parents consultations, staff meetings, targets, tracking, progress etc etc will make you dread starting back even more.
Instead focus on what you are looking forward to this year. Presumably you went into teaching because you like children and you love to teach. Thankfully, children and teaching them are at the core of what you do and although sadly you can’t magic away the not so pleasant aspects of the job you can try to focus on the positives. Working with an old/new colleague? Getting to know and spending time with the children? Teaching maths more creatively? Reading groups in your exciting reading corner? An art lesson that you know has the potential to make an excellent display? The children’s excitement at the writing wizard you can’t wait to introduce to them? Your staff Christmas do? Whatever it is, no matter how small, jot it down and keep the list to hand to remind yourself of these things as they are the reason you most likely became a teacher.

Smile

Even when you feel like you want to burst into tears and a black thunder cloud is shadowing you a simple smile can work wonders to set off some happy, confident chemicals and give you the boost you need.

Colleagues

I have always been blessed in that I have worked with so many incredible teachers and teaching assistants over the years. Simply knowing you have people to turn to if you need to can be very reassuring and reminds you that you do this job as part of a team; you don’t need to carry the responsibility alone – Nobody has shoulders that big! Remind yourself that you are a cog in a big machine, joined by many other cogs and together you take each and every child form Reception right up to Year 6.
I really feel for teachers who tell me that that don’t have good working relationships with their colleagues and feel they have no one to turn to for support. Thankfully however there are so many wonderful online forums offering comradery, advice, support and a virtual shoulder to cry on if you need it.

Don’t jump to conclusions

Running a school is tough and when people are stressed they can be snappy, grumpy and generally a little bit off with those around them. The sensitive amongst us can often worry we have done something to upset them or that we have displeased them in some way. The important thing is not to assume that this is the case. You are an adult, if something in your work, conduct is not up to scratch it the responsibility of your colleagues to say so and if they do not then you must come to the conclusion the problem is with them and not you! Just give them time and space to get through their own To Do Lists and when they are ready you’ll soon be enjoying a friendly chat and a cup of tea with them again.

I hope that some of these suggestions prove of helpful and I wish you all a wonderful year with your children. You are amazing and capable of great things.
Sarah @bethejellyfish

Posted in News

August 14th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team
Help you and the children stay cool, calm and creative  this summer with one or more of our fun Be the Jellyfish activities:

Find your jellyfish!

Explain to your child/children that they are going to be creating their very own jellyfish because like you and me, jellyfish come in all different shapes, colours and sizes and creating a jellyfish can help us to discover a little more about ourselves.  There are many ways to find your jellyfish, draw them, make them using card, an upturned paper bowl, half a paper plate or a plastic bag, sew them using felt, ribbons and scraps of fabric, you  can even create one using ironing beads, mosaic pieces or with finger prints!  Ask about the jellyfish, what they like doing, how they are feeling etc and make sure to keep the jellyfish safe.

Capture the seaside!

Take a trip to the coast, find a book about the seaside at your local library or look at images and video clips online. Talk about all the sights and sounds of the seaside and how they can make us feel.  Some children my find some aspects, e.g. the sea, sea creatures quite frightening, accept those thoughts and feelings and talk about and plan ways to feel better about them.  Now capture the seaside in art.  You could use photographs taken at the beach, create a collage using images from magazines/travel brochures, paint or sketch a seaside picture or make a seaside jar/bottle or tray by filling it with sand, pebbles, shells, images, miniature figures etc.

Sand time!

Creating patterns and shapes in sand can be an incredibly mindful and relaxing activity.  No need to find a beach, play sand is perfect and can be stored in a deep tray, plastic tub or similar.  Encourage the time to feel the sand running through the spaces between the fingers or through a clenched fist. Draw pictures, shapes and patterns using fingertips and enjoy starting anew in the sand with a sweep of the hand.  Take pictures of the sand creations, add objects and figures or even add glitter to sparkle it up.  Note: Some children may not be comfortable with the feel of sand, if that is the case, suggest using a pencil, feathers, spoons and cups to make patterns and move sand.

Bake!  Bake!  Bake!

Whether it be cookies, crispy cakes, fairy cakes, tray bakes, sponges or a tiered masterpiece, making and decorating edible treats can be a fun and creative way to experience a sense of pride and wellbeing.  Try to get the children as involved in as many steps as possible (perfect opportunity for some holiday maths) and then marvel at the outcome before tucking in – Why not add it to the picnic feast!

Wobbly jellyfish!

A summertime treat that is fun to make is jelly so why not get the children involved in making a delicious jellyfish jelly!  Together decide which colour/flavour for the head and whether you are going to add fruits, sweets to the mix before melting, mixing and setting in a bowl.  Then think about and prepare what you will use for the legs; we find sponge fingers, grapes, apricot halves, piped cream (decorated with sprinkles) or strawberry laces all work well and help make your jellyfish jelly a real showpiece.  Alternatively use small bowls for children to make their own jellyfish jellies!

Picnic feast!

Plan and make a picnic to share together at the local park, woods, on the beach, in the garden or if the British weather isn’t playing ball, have an indoor picnic by clearing a space and spreading a picnic blanket on the floor in your home – This is a great incentive to get children to tidy their bedroom and the cuddly toys can join the picnic too!  Why not add your bakes or jellyfish jellies for an extra special picnic touch!

Delve under the sea!

Create an under the sea relaxation space.  Get the children to paint an old sheet with waves and their favourite under the sea creatures.  Suspend the sheet between chairs to make a canopy and sit underneath on a rug/cushions, maybe add a nightlight and together relax and slowly breathe in and out to the sound of the waves.

We hope that we have inspired you to try one or some of our summertime suggestions.  Please feel free to send us any pictures of your creations to tag/share them with us on Facebook/Instagram/ Twitter.

Warmest wishes,
Lucy & Sarah

Posted in News

July 7th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Update

Be the Jellyfish have a busy bee of a summer ahead which includes:

*Revamping and adding exciting new website features.

*Writing and creating more inspirational Jellyfish classes, visualisations and resources.

*Putting the finishing touches to our community training programme materials so that we will be able to welcome a gorgeous flutter of new Community Jellyfish Teachers in Autumn term.

*Welcoming Lucy’s baby to the world!

Unfortunately all this means we will not be around to run our usual holiday community classes.

We would however like to wish all our regular Community Jellyfish attendees and their families a wonderful summer’s break filled with love, laughter, sunshine and relaxation.  We look forward to seeing you and welcoming new Jellyfish at out classes in the Autumn.

Love

Sarah X

The arrival of a new baby

Posted in News

June 5th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Be the Jellyfish Colouring Resource Book

We are delighted to announce that our new spiral bound fully photocopiable resource is now available to buy now for £24.99.

Ideal for general relaxation and mindfulness or as a specific resource to support the social and emotional wellbeing of children, this book contains colouring sheets based on our jellyfish and a range of activity and development ideas to try.

Perfect for use at home, in the classroom or child care/services and an ideal resource for Learning Mentors and ELSAs.

This resource also facilitates the Jellyfish process of creative chatter; a two way conversation about a child’s creation.

https://bethejellyfish.com/jellyfish-shop

Posted in News

March 7th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Our book!

Out March 21st and available to order now!

Published by Jessica Kingsley,  our book is soon to be released and we seriously can’t wait.  We received our copy today and couldn’t be happier!  Priced at just £24.99 you can order a copy directly from us, from JKP or from Amazon.

Support children’s social and emotional wellbeing, help them to create, relax and have fun.  Start your Jellyfish journey today!

Watch this space for more details.  We hope to add the book to our shop very soon and will be launching our brilliant new schools pack very soon 🙂

Posted in News

February 28th, 2017 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Be the Jellyfish Training Manual.  Supporting Children’s Social and Emotional Wellbeing

The countdown is on and we can’t wait!  Our JKP Jellyfish Training Manual, containing 30 Jellyfish class plans and over 200 resources, is released on March 21st!

Pre order from Amazon today and take advantage of free postage and packing!

Posted in News

November 24th, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Wednesday, November 23rd

Yesterday we were given the opportunity to train a wonderful group of Learning Mentors, LSAs and TAs from the East Grinstead Group of Schools (EGGS).  The 2016-17 focus of the group, consisting of 13 primary and 2 secondary schools,  is to support children’s mental health and wellbeing; we were privileged to be asked help them with this project.

We would like to thank Sarah Francillia at NEST for organising the event, Lions for funding it, Blackwell Primary for hosting us and all the lovely trainees who attended.

It is therefore with joy that we welcome the following schools to the Jellyfish family:

www.ashurstwoodprimary.co.uk

www.baldwinshillprimaryschool.co.uk

www.blackwell.w-sussex.sch.uk

www.copthorne.w-sussex.sch.uk

www.crawleydownschool.com

www.estcots.co.uk

www.fairway.w-sussex.sch.uk

www.halsfordparkprimaryschool.co.uk

www.imberhorne.co.uk

www.meads.w-sussex.sch.uk

www.sackville.w-sussex.sch.uk

www.stmaryseg.co.uk

www.stpeterseastgrinstead.co.uk

www.turnershillschool.org.uk

Posted in News

November 9th, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Newham, East London

Last month we spent the day at our London pilot school – Vicarage Primary!

We were lucky enough to have time with the children and provide Be The Jellyfish training to the talented learning mentors that work there.

Vicarage Primary has an excellent reputation for supporting the needs of their pupils and the Be The Jellyfish programme and associated resources beautifully compliment the work that they are already doing.

As of January 2017, the school may be contacted (via the SEND Manager, Michael Mednick) by other schools and education professionals who wish to discover the benefits of Be the Jellyfish for themselves.

www.vicarage.newham.sch.uk

Posted in News

September 20th, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Come chat to us in Islington!

We are very excited to be exhibiting at the 2016 TES SEN show in the Business Design Centre, Islington.

Come and have a chat at stall 139 to find out all about our child wellbeing programme and to view our resources for yourself.

We will be exhibiting on both the 7th and 8th of October and look forward to meeting you.

S&L X

Posted in News

September 14th, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Seeking pilot schools in the Midlands and South East

We are looking for schools in the south east of England and the Midlands to pilot, review and showcase our social and emotional wellbeing programme.

In exchange we will provide materials, class plans, resources and free Be The Jellyfish membership!

To apply please get in touch via the contacts page.

Posted in News

August 10th, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Jellyfish workshops

We’ve had a super summer!  It’s been a real treat working with young crafters; helping them to find and create their own jellyfish.

With focus, determination and the most amazing atmosphere of calm and creativity, the children learnt how to make a pattern for their jellyfish designs and how to use that pattern to make their 3D Jellyfish.  A wide range of fabrics, ribbons, stitches and techniques were used and the results were brilliant.  Like their creators, each jellyfish was wonderfully unique, fabulously creative and totally precious.

Lucy and I are now looking to our autumn community workshops and the opportunity to once again facilitate and encourage children’s self expression, creativity and relaxation.

Sarah x

Posted in News

July 27th, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Discover and create your inner jellyfish!

Be the Jellyfish are inviting children to join them this summer to make their very own jellyfish!  Using a range of materials and fabrics, children will learn basic pattern making, sewing and embroidery skills to make their own unique jellyfish to take home..

Held at venues in Dorking, Sutton and East Grinstead, workshops cost £12 per child and run from 9.30 to 12.00.

Suitable for children aged 7 to 11.

Book a place for your child via our contact page.

Posted in News

July 16th, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Cotsford Junior School

Durham

Be the Jellyfish are pleased to announce that as of September 2016, Cotsford Junior School in County Durham will be piloting the Be The Jellyfish video training programme in the North East of England.

Cotsford Junior School is a Place 2b school and one which already has excellent SEND provision.  Along with us, they feel that Jellyfish classes and resources could further support and complement the invention programmes and strategies already in place.

As of January 2017 the school may be contacted (via Deputy Head, Amy Marshall) by any schools/educational professionals in the North East who are interested in discovering how Be the Jellyfish could work for them.

www.cotsford-jun.durham.sch.uk

Posted in News

June 2nd, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Prince Bishops Teaching School Alliance: Mental Health in North East Schools – Building capacity and networks for our pupils

Be the Jellyfish are delighted to be exhibiting at this event on Wednesday, June 22nd.

www.schoolsnortheast.com/events/event/mental-health-in-north-east-schools/6960/

Posted in News

June 2nd, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

You can now purchase Jellyfish resources direct from our Be the Jellyfish website.

Simply use this link to find all of our wellbeing resources on our site.

Please let us know if you have any questions by getting in touch here.

Posted in News

March 23rd, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Feedback from the children

Every now and then, we ask the children we work with to fill in a journey sheet.  This helps us to understand more about what children would like to get out of attending Jellyfish classes and also gives us an idea of how successful a block of classes has been.

One question on the journey sheet asks ‘How do Jellyfish classes make you feel?’  The answers we have received confirm the need for children to have access to experiences such as those provided by Jellyfish classes.

Some of the answers children have given:

‘calm’

‘free’

‘nice inside’

‘peaceful and relaxed’

‘more interested in things’

‘loved’

‘happy’

‘more gentle’

‘creative’

Further more, when asked what they liked about Jellyfish classes children made comments such as:

‘I like having the chance to breath’

‘I like the feeling having freedom towards my work and not being judged by work’

‘I like having time to relax and be myself’

40 out of the 40 Journey sheets completed by children ranging from ages 6 to 11 said that they would like Jellyfish classes to be a part of their school day.  One Year 6 boy from a school in Crawley even went so far as to say; ‘If that was a club, I would go every single day!’.

Sarah xx

Posted in News

January 5th, 2016 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Deliver the Jellyfish programme in your school

As of September 2016 we will be offering revised and revamped training options for schools.  New opportunities include video training!

Posted in News

November 5th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Previously 25.11.15

Our Be the Jellyfish Training and Information event has been postponed until February 2016.

Apologies for any inconvenience caused by this change.

Watch this space and our Facebook page for further updates.

Warmest Wishes,

Be the Jellyfish Team

Posted in News

October 5th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Suitable for Learning Mentors, Teaching Assistants, Teachers, SENCos and other School Support Staff

 Be the Jellyfish is delighted to be able to offer their first training event in the South East of England in February 2016!

Through training you will be qualified to deliver the Jellyfish Programme in your school and thus further support the social and emotional wellbeing of children in your care.

To find out more, and to try out the Programme for yourself, we’d love to invite you to join us on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 25th at the Chequer Meads Art Centre, East Grinstead.  2pm to 4pm.

Unfortunately there are limited places so please book your place for this afternoon by Wednesday, November 11th.

Places are free of charge and can be booked by email or telephone.

We look forward to meeting you!

Warmest Wishes,

The Jellyfish Family X

Posted in News

October 5th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Halloween Crafts . Halloween Relaxation . Halloween Sensory

Be the Jellyfish will be running a Halloween Workshop on Friday, October 30th for children aged 5 to 11.

This event will be held at Lingfield and Dormansland Community Centre: 10.00 – 11.30 am.

£7 per child.  Children under 7 must be accompanied by an adult.

Limited Places!

Call or Email to book a place for your child.

Posted in News

August 20th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33984082

Posted in News

August 17th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-33380155

Posted in News

August 17th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-32174569

Posted in News

August 17th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

Disturbing Read

Posted in News

April 16th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

NCB have provided an up-to-date, evidence informed advice and guidance document on ‘What Works’ in promoting emotional well-being and mental health in schools. Professor Katherine Weare, a leading academic in this field has developed this guidance for schools and services.

Please see the document link below:

‘What Works’ -Guidance for Schools Document

The Be the Jellyfish Programme is an ideal service to ensure schools implement the advice given and help promote it as one which supports the social and emotional needs of children in their care.

Posted in News

April 16th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

One of the most surprising, and indeed upsetting things, I have discovered in all my years working as a teacher is just how common stress and anxiety is amongst children of a primary age. For some children ‘care free’ days simply do not exist.

Common causes for stress and anxiety in children include:

  • Family Expectations
  • Academic Expectations
  • Social Expectations
  • Friendships
  • Lack of routine
  • Lack of boundaries
  • The need/pressure to be ‘good’
  • Fear of being shouted at/told off
  • Fear of parent separation
  • Exposure to news events
  • Fear of illness/death in themselves and those they love

Signs that a child could be experiencing stress or anxiety:

  • Tummy aches
  • Nightmares
  • Poor sleep
  • Poor academic Progress
  • Clingy/teary
  • Low mood
  • Hyper/silly behaviour
  • Angry/frustrated/aggressive
  • Increased or loss of appetite
  • Bed wetting

If any of these sings are experienced regularly it is advised to seek advise from your GP. There are also a number of activities to help ease everyday stress and anxiety:

  • Relaxation/meditation CDs
  • General Exercise
  • Breathing Exercise/singing/ music
  • Massage
  • Storytelling
  • Small World Play
  • Drawing/colouring/painting/craft
  • Using and exploring sensory toys and equipment

Posted in News

April 13th, 2015 by Be the Jellyfish Team

It is scary that in such a time of turbulent and wide-sweeping changes, which are being undertaken to improve ‘students’ outcomes, that the ‘child’ behind the student is being forgotten. Whilst the administrative burden and preparation time for staff in schools is unquestionably huge, most educational professionals will cite concern regarding the adverse impact that these changes will have on the individual child. Dealing with children’s loss of self-worth, motivation and confidence following decreased performance is a burden that schools should not have to worry about.

We are lucky to have such a comprehensive education system in the United Kingdom but this does not mean that schools are able and should offer a comprehensive service. And unfortunately, in an era where creativity is being stripped from the curriculum, educational establishments are less able to offer the broad spectrum of education that may have naturally led to outlets for children’s emotions and concerns. They are less able to offer a curriculum that is suited to every child and they are less able to inject time into the emotional well-being of the child.

Extra-curricular activities have the benefit of developing the skills that children may not so readily obtain in the classroom, specifically self-esteem and confidence, and given the right setting, an outlet for emotions. After all, the ‘student’ is a role that children take on for six hours a day, for the other 18 hours, we are left to deal with the welfare of the child. We need to ensure that we are doing everything we can to preserve the well-being of the individual child in a national time of upheaval for the collective student population.

Posted in News