The Joy of Cooking for Mental Health - By Helen Richardson

There are so many benefits to cooking and how this contributes positively to your mental health. It is well known that cooking and creating can “soothe stress, build self-esteem and curb negative thinking by focusing the mind on following a recipe”, and during lockdown this is more important than ever. There has been a lot documented about the benefits of cooking either alone or with others on mental health and the wellbeing that it can bring, so I would like to encourage you to take part in cooking together during Children’s Mental Health Week.

For a long time I have been an advocate of cooking for pleasure and I am really lucky to be in a position where my passion is also my job. For me, there is no other feeling like it. Cooking when it’s just me feels as wonderful as teaching my students to cook. Nothing beats the sense of achievement and the feeling of wellbeing when I know that a student has mastered a new skill, technique and recipe. To see the students grow in confidence is truly joyful!

For Children’s Mental Health Week, I am sharing some of my favourite recipes for you to try at home to see if more people can feel the benefits of cooking together.  It would be wonderful to see the results of your cooking, so please send your pictures to me via office@oaksparkhigh.org.uk – we will post the pictures on our school website.

Happy baking!

Cooking Together (PDF)

Reading for wellbeing - By Soraya Berry

As part of Children’s Mental Health Week, we compiled a reading list of books by year group, which promote positivity and which deal sensitively with challenging situations.

Even though they are in high school, we strongly encourage you to read together with your children in order to open up discussions about how both you and they are feeling. Communicating feelings via a shared book creates memories and reassurance for your child, and there are several books on the list which can be enjoyed and shared as a family of different ages.

If you only read one book on this list, we suggest this excellent title www.booktrust.org.uk/book/t/the-boy-the-mole-the-fox-and-the-horse which has wonderful illustrations and a message of kindness and compassion running through every page.

Reading for pleasure and for relaxation is a calming and nurturing past time and there are many more suitable books which we can recommend if you are looking for more titles to read and share with your children. Please email Mrs Berry lrc@oaksparkhigh.org.uk for more details.

Family Wellbeing reading list Feb 2021 (PDF)
Year 7 & 8 Wellbeing reading list Feb 2021 (PDF)
Year 9 & 10 Wellbeing reading list Feb 2021 (PDF)
Year 11+ Wellbeing reading list Feb 2021 (PDF)
Post 16 & adult Wellbeing reading list Feb 2021 (PDF)