What is the Alive to Thrive Project?
Former teacher Sarah Griffiths uses her storytelling talent to inspire the true potential of young people. Sarah’s career as an author has led her on a journey of self-discovery to realise her own potential as an advocate for children. Sarah teaches the importance of self-esteem, reaching for our dreams and learning about our limitless potential through her rhyming stories and workshops.
Sarah’s aim is to work with 10 Primary & Secondary Schools to deliver her Well-Being Workshops in the Telford and Wrekin and Shropshire area. This will enable children from age 7-13 to learn essential practices that support good mental and emotional health. With schools facing funding cuts and tight budgets this will support local schools with no additional cost to them.
Sarah commented “The UK is facing a mental health crisis, which is why it is essential our youngest children are given the support they need at the start of their educational lives. Our precious children deserve to be given the tools that they need to succeed.”
“It is my purpose to support children to thrive. Teaching children from a young age how to have a growth mindset and self-belief, opens up a future for children that is positive, achievable and exciting for them!”
How will the Project be funded?
Local businesses can sponsor a local Primary School or Secondary School. Linking businesses to schools is a fantastic way to support children and demonstrates how important mental and emotional education is to our society throughout our lives. Working together creates powerful relationships and adopts an ethos of support and connection within our community.
This will enable Sarah to use her unique approach of story-telling and teaching well-being practices that promote a positive approach to life, teach children practical daily habits to support their happiness now and for the future. It is vital that communities work together as good mental health education benefits all areas of our lives.
The sponsorship will enable Sarah to gain vital evidence towards her campaign; that all children have access to essential well-being practices that will enable them to thrive!
Working with Schools, Sarah has gained crucial evidence about the impact of teaching children about how to have high self-esteem and why this is so important at a young age. Sarah has travelled around Shropshire and beyond, holding author visits and teaching her well-being workshops.
The latest evidence is from Ladygrove Primary School in Telford. Sarah taught 7 well-being workshops to 97 children aged from 8-11 years from January 2019 – April 2019.
83% children said after the sessions they had grown in self-esteem.
81% children said after the sessions they had grown in confidence.
The feedback from staff:
“There were so many messages through the workshops. The reflection part of the workshops was really important. Children had time to stop and be present in the present.”
“We particularly liked the Magnificent Me part of the workshops, which we will continue to use in our transition with Year 6.”
“We are really grateful for you coming in and sharing your work. It’s been a beneficial experience for the staff as well as the children. We do need to do more of it – stopping and thinking about well-being and how important it is to the heart of our education system.”
(Emily Guess, Deputy Head Teacher, Ladygrove Primary School, Telford.)
The feedback from pupils was extremely powerful:
“The workshops have helped me find what I like and what I am good at. It was an amazing experience to have for once in a lifetime!”
“The workshops have helped me to feel more confident in myself and my feelings. They have helped me to boost my self-esteem. I feel that I will take this knowledge and experiences onto later life.”
The Well-Being Programme
- First, Sarah gives a storytelling performance of ‘Sophie’s Spectacles’. Sarah introduces the children to Self-Esteem and talks through the 6 key areas that support children to build their self-esteem. Health and fitness, family and relationships, school life, personal development and connection with others, prosperity, fun, play and pursuing passions.
- Sarah talks about the 4 important and powerful ways that the mind works. 1. To keep you safe. 2. It directs you to the familiar. 3. It responds to the pictures you put in your head. 4. It responds to the words you say to yourself. Children are given practical opportunities to explore how their mind works and Sarah teaches them about a growth mindset.
- Sarah talks about the importance of gratitude in our daily lives. Children learn how appreciating the world around them each day can attract more happiness into their lives.
- Sarah introduces children to affirmations and how the power of I AM statements can support us on a daily basis.
- Sarah takes children on a journey of meditation and how daily practice can transform their way of thinking to focus on happiness now and for their future. Children use a visualisation technique to see a future they are excited about and plan the steps to reach their goals.
- Sarah teaches children about empathy and forgiveness. Sarah demonstrates how we can put ourselves into another person’s world and how we can forgive others; which detaches from self-blame.
- Finally, Sarah talks about daily practical tools and habits for a happy and successful life. Children have the opportunity to celebrate their own unique magnificence and talk about their positive aspects, understanding their own interests and abilities.
Sarah’s ethos empowers children to think in a way that supports their future. Sarah focuses on nurturing the individual child. Sarah supports children by asking questions about what is important in their lives. The sessions develop a strong sense of self, self worth, self love and belonging and the importance of human connection.
Children explore their uniqueness and begin a journey of self-discovery. Through the practice of visualisation, children envision a future they can believe in and are excited about. Through inspired action, planning and goal setting Sarah demonstrates how reaching our future dreams can become a reality.
The workshops are perfect for children in KS2 in Primary Schools and Year 7 in Secondary Schools.
The Well-Being Stories
- Sophie’s Spectacles
The book is written with children of all ages in mind and focuses on seven-year-old Sophie, a little girl who doesn’t realise her full potential until she is given a special pair of spectacles to look through.
Being able to see the good in others but downplaying our own positive attributes is something which will resonate with not only the children reading the book, but with their parents, grandparents, carers and teachers too.
The main character is based on both the author herself and a pupil she taught over a decade ago, and is told through rhyme.
- Jack and the Genie
This is an enchanting story about a little boy called Jack who carries his sketch book wherever he goes. One day while reading his favourite story, a genie appears and Jack is magically transported into the future. This is a wonderful tale to share with children of all ages and has a special message; to follow our own inner guidance, as this is the key to reaching our dreams and finding true happiness.
Sarah is writing 7 stories in her series of well-being books for children. The 3rd in the series is called ‘Finding Stones for Grandma’ and is based on her meditation practices. The story is written in a magical way to embrace the beauty and importance of meditation and visualisation for children. This will be released in early 2020.
Why is it important for Schools?
Supporting schools to equip children to become self-empowered is essential in our society today.
The Well-Being practices are essential for children to understand that they have the power to think in a way that benefits them. Self-esteem underpins every experience in our lives. High self-esteem is essential in the modern fast pace society which we live in. Children need to build resilience, so that they appreciate the challenges in life knowing that they are growing and learning.
Half of all mental health problems present themselves before the age of 14 and around a quarter of young people show some evidence of issues including anxiety and depression. One in ten children have a diagnosable mental health issue (around three pupils in every classroom across the UK). And just 0.7 per cent of the NHS budget is spent on children’s mental health, with just 16 per cent of that focused on early intervention1.
Children as young as four are showing signs of mental health problems. A survey conducted earlier this year revealed 92% of teachers had witnessed students experiencing anxiety or panic attacks, 80% had seen signs of depression, and 67% taught pupils who had self-harmed2. When problems are eventually identified, there are some children waiting six months for a first appointment with mental health services, and up to ten months for treatment to begin3.
Dismissing early warning signs as oversensitivity can have a devastating impact on a child, teaching them from a young age that their problems simply aren’t worth sharing because no one will listen or provide support. By encouraging children to share their dreams, focus on their strengths, realise their limitless potential, and actively talk about their wellbeing from an early age, we can’t eradicate mental health issues, but we can foster a sense of being valued, of having the resilience and tools to deal with some of the bumps in the road of life, and of emotional health being as important as physical health.
How can Schools get involved?
Schools will be able to apply directly to Sarah. Sarah aims to begin in October 2019. The project will allow Sarah crucial evidence to further her campaign.
How can schools’ continue the practices after the workshops?
Schools will keep all digital copies of videos, meditation and presentations. Schools can share the practices with all staff, fostering a whole school approach.
Embedding the specific daily well-being practices into the curriculum and continuing to re-visit the 6 areas of self-esteem so children have clarity about what is important to them and where they are headed.
What Packages are available?
Part sponsorship £50 towards well-being author visits and workshops.
An author visit and 1 well-being workshop = £150
The workshop teaches about self-esteem, gratitude, positive affirmations and daily meditation practices.
7 well-being workshops = £500 (see above for details)
7 well-being workshops (see above for details)
15 copies of well-being story
The schools’ and businesses involved in the project will be given the opportunity to receive awards for their well-being practice. This is to enable the school to have time to embed the practices that have been taught and show evidence to demonstrate the impact to both children and staff over time. There will be Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.
Sarah’s Future Plan
Sarah’s vision is that all schools embed these practices into the curriculum. Sarah is launching a campaign with Zen communications to connect with key people in education, demonstrating her unique approach to awaken children to the power of their mind and their limitless potential. This project will support Sarah’s campaign with more supporting evidence, driving it forward and having a crucial impact on children’s lives.
How to get involved
If you are a company that would like to support the funding for Sarah’s workshops contact Sarah: