Date Posted... Mar 2nd 2020



Junior Boys’ Boarding Blog

Our theme for this weekend’s activity was once again focused on how the pupils can help themselves and develop skills that will assist them at school, and in later life. Our focus this time around was on mental health awareness and in developing strategies for supporting oneself at particularly stressful times or for maintaining positive mental health. In light of recent developments regarding the spread of COVID-19, all of our boys have shown remarkable sensitivity and empathy, and are engaging fully with all developments. They are also highly aware of how it may be impacting upon others at school, and in particular among the boarding community. I can only state how impressed I have been at their reaction, and share my fullest sympathies for all those who may be affected by this global issue.


In this environment, methods for dealing with any anxiety have been brought to the fore, and our boys engaged fully with the different activities offered. Mrs Fiol offered them a session on how they might tackle exam stress and academic pressure, exploring the importance of physical health, exercise, sleep and relaxation as part of a healthy balance to promote more focused learning. Mrs Mulready led a session looking at drawing as a way of relieving stress, whilst listening to relaxing music. Some of the results which you can see attached, are really beautiful – David, in particular, is beginning to develop a really impressive collection of drawings. We also had a visiting instructor who gave a session of Yoga to the boys.


Finally, I led a singing session, looking at the tradition of Cornish singing, and singing three traditional Cornish songs together. In the process we discussed how the words of the songs were inspired by events that have shaped Cornwall and Cornish people, including the historic importance of tin mining and fishing to the economy down here, and the impacts when those jobs began to disappear. We also discussed how singing can improve mental health and release chemicals into the brain that make us happier and more relaxed. Together we learnt Trelawny, which is often considered the Cornish ‘national anthem’, as well as ‘South Australia’ (relating to the Cornish diaspora) and ‘Cornwall my Home’. We are looking forward to performing these as part of the Boarder’s Concert at the end of next half term.


On Saturday, after brunch, the boys attended a short talk and demonstration delivered by Jim Rattigan, who is recognised as the UK’s foremost Jazz French Horn player. He was a fascinating man to hear talk and I hope the boys enjoyed hearing him play. Finally, I have discussed with the boys how next week is going be a ‘Healthy Eating Week’ in boarding, where we will help them to make positive choices about their food, and remind them of the significant responsibility they have in choosing what they eat in the boarding community. We hope it will help them reflect on their diet independently, going forward.

Peter Thomson, Resident House Tutor, Poltisco House