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    Enhancing the Experiences of Children with Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties in a Primary Class

    Keenan, Eilis (2022) Enhancing the Experiences of Children with Social Emotional and Mental Health Difficulties in a Primary Class. Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Operational Guide (2019) declared that in December 2018 in Ireland 19,073 adolescents and children were in receipt of their services. There are thousands of children placed on waiting lists desperately seeking appointments due to the lack of staffing and resources. These statistics establish the urgent demand for sufficient support and guidance at primary school level. The research for this study took place in a school that acquired the DEIS Band One School Support Programme of Delivering Equality of Opportunity to Schools (DEIS), the action plan of the Department of Education and Skills for educational inclusion. The school comprises an urban setting and there are over three hundred and fifty pupils enrolled. The focus children were in second class. There was a specific focus placed upon working with children with social emotional and mental health difficulties. I utilised a self-study approach within an action research framework. I reflected on my practice with the objective of enhancing my personal and professional knowledge and understanding and developing the care that I offer to the children. This research comprises two cycles that utilise Circle Time and the Trauma Informed Practice Approach. Circle Time involves the children and the teacher sitting within a circle completing an activity, task or discussion together. Trauma Informed Practice supports the educators understanding regarding how trauma can impact children’s actions and behaviour in school. In collaboration with pupils, colleagues and parents, and the initiative in place, the values: communication and the significance of forming strong relationships were established, enlightened and inspired throughout. Circle Time, with the assistance of a speaking object, encouraged a positive communication thread amongst the educator and the children. It motivated them to develop the confidence to engage in the group dialogue. This in turn, along with valuable reflection in their Happy Scrappies, led to the transformation of peer and teacher-child relationships within the class. Thematic Analysis reinforced the demand to further analyse and explore the themes of promoting positive ways of being, communication and relationships and motivation. These themes compounded my understanding of social emotional experiences of the children in my class. These discoveries resulted in a radical change in my understanding of teaching children with social emotional and mental health difficulties (SEMH). They enhanced the level of care and understanding within my practice and further denoted the values of establishing communication and forming of positive relationships within the school community.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Additional Information: M.Ed. Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Keywords: Enhancing; Experiences; Children; Social Emotional; Mental Health Difficulties; Primary Class;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Item ID: 17309
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 09 Jun 2023 13:28
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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