Ryders Hayes

“Stormbreak is essential for any teachers toolbox to support children’s mental health”

- Marcos Rylance, Wellbeing and Safeguarding Leader at Ryders Hayes Primary, Pelsall, West Midlands

Ryders Hayes Primary School came on board our stormbreak ‘Surge’ training in 2022 and hopped, skipped and ran with it. The success of stormbreak has been transformative and the ripple effect is felt through the whole school culture. Stormbreak advocate and pioneer Marcos Rylance shares his stormbreak story here.

“Stormbreak activities are based around five key mental health concepts: resilience, self care, relationships, self worth and hope and optimism. Stormbreak aims to reduce the stigma around mental health by equipping children with language and skills that allow them to recognise, respond and regulate their feelings from as early as Reception (four years of age). 

Ryders Hayes started their Stormbreak journey in April 2022. Stormbreak trained five advocates in school to deliver stormbreak. Ryders Hayes has been delivering stormbreaks across all year groups from Reception to Year 6 and are very close to completing 500 stormbreaks as school.

Ryders Hayes senior leaders have fully supported the programme and the results so far are amazing. We predominantly focus on relationships, resilience and self-worth in school, and love that you can stormbreak anywhere in school, from the classroom to field, or even taking an adventure in forest school with ‘Classroom cross country’.

We continue to ensure that we use stormbreak consistently, continuing to equip our children with sustainable skills and coping strategies to thrive during the complex demands of today’s world, we know that allowing our children to have opportunity as a class, small group or 1:2:1 depending upon their needs to stormbreak inside or outside, connecting with nature and most importantly understanding themselves is crucial.

Stormbreak’s focus of ‘when the storm rages we teach children to find shelter and create light, calm and change through movement’ is a statement that we believe in and support. (Marcos Rylance)

We know as professionals that children’s mental health is a priority and ensure that as settings we continue to promote positive mental health and equip children with knowledge and strategies to cope in today’s busy world. Research shows us that in the last 3 years, the likelihood of young people having a mental health problem has increased by 50% (The children’s Society) and that children’s happiness continues to decline.

Children at Ryders Hayes have said:

“I like stormbreak as he has helped me make friends, and I do fun activities”

“I like that its a way to control my emotions and gives me a break”

“I like stormbreak because it makes me feel calm”

“(Stormbreak) has allowed children to access tools to help them regulate themselves and support them to navigate through unusual emotions.” (Year 2 Teacher)