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Headteacher's quest to put mental health first.

A HEADTEACHER is behind a nationwide push to help children's mental health.

Anne Kaye of Emley First School is the founder of Kaleidoscope - a programme which supports children to maintain good self-esteem, positive mindsets and build confidence.

It is the result of 10 years of work in the field, which she started while a deputy head teacher in an inner-city school.

There, she trained as a colour therapist, who uses light, colour and sounds to have a positive impact on mental and physical health and now trains other people around the country.

She has also implemented the project in her own school, which is a seven-step programme run in a special environment, which includes relaxation, mental rehearsal, expression, self-esteem games, art therapy techniques and positive affirmation.

Anne said: "Children need to be happy in order to thrive and fulfil their potential, so it's vital for schools to give them time for reflection and to build on their natural inner strengths.

"So many young people feel stressed and lacking in self-esteem, which affects their life chances.

"This issue is being increasingly recognised but we should do more to support children with their mental health. Half of mental health issues and low self-esteem issues start in childhood before the age of 15.

"Kaleidoscope gives practical help to children on a daily basis, often leading to a healthier lifestyle, happier personal relationships and a greater chance of academic success. Sessions are led by the school's own trained staff."

Anne, a former Colne Valley High School pupil, moved to Emley First School six years ago to take up her third headship.

Around 30 other schools in England now have Kaleidoscope spaces so that children can receive support in an appropriate environments.

She added: "Kaleidoscope can be tailored depending on the size of group or the issues which are most relevant, while it also works well with parents because it helps them to support their child's self-esteem.

"We've had excellent results at our own school and it's incredibly rewarding to see young people leading positive, happy lives."

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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jun 7, 2016
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