With the Principal: Mr Mark McVeigh
What is Denla 5?
Denla British School (DBS) continuously promotes well-being for students, and indeed, the rest of the community. ‘Denla 5’ is an annual focus on a week of learning and practising elements of well-being, with the eventual goal of sustainable happiness.
What is ‘Sustainable Happiness’?
In the context of student well-being, sustainable happiness is the use of positive psychology to influence attitudes and behaviour. In 2012, the General Assembly of the United Nations recognised ‘the relevance of happiness and well-being as universal goals and aspirations in the lives of human beings around the world’. The cultivation of well-being, or sustainable happiness, can be practised during childhood so that it becomes a habit.
Well-being consists of a number of dimensions. Physical Well-being is about being healthy physically, the basis of a good life leading to success and happiness. Mental Well-being means feeling that you are in a good place, able to tackle any challenge that life may throw at you. Social Well-being includes having good friends, which positively affects your emotions. Without love and friendship, it would be impossible to feel part of society. Community Well-being is about creating a good environment. These Well-being dimensions can be acquired at a young age, and this promotes success and wellness in later life.
The ‘Denla 5’ Concept
Well-being is a hugely important element of our daily lives. Mrs Lisa McVeigh is Well-being Manager at DBS, with the knowledge and experience to drive sustainable wellness of the community. The community is not just about the students, but it also includes parents and staff. To emphasise our mission, Lisa created the Denla 5 initiative to cultivate Well-being values within our community. This year, there were 5 elements running for 5 themed days: Get Active, Connect, Keep Learning, Healthy Eating and Give Something Back.
Get Active Monday
This focused on health and raising awareness of the importance of exercise for both our physical and mental well-being. The students engaged in activities that they do not normally do at school, such as cycling, scooting around the athletics track, and Zumba. In addition, there was a health workshop for parents. Children broadened their experiences and discovered new interests and talents. Physical activity and exercise have immediate and long-term health benefits. They improve quality of life, and reduce the risk of developing serious illness.
Connect Tuesday was about developing relationships and being mindful. DBS believes that mental well-being means feeling good about ourselves and the world around us. Wider awareness of the world helps us to build stronger connections and can make us feel happier and more secure, giving us a greater sense of purpose. Students learned to develop relationships via Pen Pal – interacting with new friends through written communication. There was a ‘Buddy Reading’ activity, too, developing closer relationships. A ‘Wake and Shake’ morning exercise was enjoyed by the whole community. For parents and staff, there were Yoga classes, too.
Keep Learning Wednesday
DBS believes that you are never too old or too wise to learn something new. Students were energised with new activities they had never done in school before. Learning new skills stimulates neurons in the brain, helping you to learn better and think more creatively. This develops a growth mindset. If children have a fixed mindset, they believe they can’t change their characters, creativity, or potential for success. A growth mindset is a more positive outlook, as children believe they have control over their successes and failures. They can look at classroom tasks with a ‘go-getting’ attitude and are able to bounce back from challenges with an optimistic point of view. When they fail at something, they will understand that they can use that experience to learn new ways to achieve a goal.
Students are educated about choosing a balanced diet that is beneficial to their health. There were cooking classes and a food science and nutrition class. Students enjoyed a delicious healthy barbeque at lunch time, too. There was a food workshop and an organic food market for parents. We aim for students and parents to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of their diet. By choosing a healthy, nutritious diet, we can reduce the risk of problems, such as obesity, diabetes, cancer and vascular disease.
Give Something Back Friday
The focus of this day was for the whole DBS community to give something back to society. In this theme, students contributed coins to make a huge ‘Denla Heart’. We also collected donations such as toys, books and clothes to give to those less fortunate. The aim was to encourage compassion and appreciation of giving.
Denla British School encourages students to be brave decision-makers, creative thinkers, confident, thoughtful, and generous entrepreneurs with global perspectives. The DBS vision is ‘Nurturing Global Leaders’, with a focus on well-being, which ‘Denla 5’ encouraged greatly. It put a big smile on the face of the DBS community.