Happy children achieve more

children holding diaries

All too often our children, and us adults too, can get caught up in the busyness of life.  We can forget to pause – forget to enjoy the journey, too intent on our destination. Professor Carol Dweck would say that we are forgetting the importance of process and focussing only on outcomes. This is not good!

At the Junior School, we want our pupils to achieve more than academic performance. We look to develop happy pupils who are confident in their own skin since this is so key to our children becoming their potential. We aim to instil in them the importance of gratitude and teach skills of reflection, both on our school work and our daily actions.

From Reception to Year 6, our pupils have enjoyed our recent assembly focus on gratitude which culminated in our half term holiday project – the HCJS Happy Diary!

Parents and children spent a couple of minutes at the end of each day completing the diary together: talking, looking back over the day and looking ahead to the next day. The idea was to help the children reflect on all they enjoy each day: to practise gratitude, to encourage a growth mindset and to develop kindness, mindfulness and self-awareness. 

The diary contained a quote each day which I hoped might trigger a conversation, space for the children to write down their favourite moments or activities and a daily challenge or task too. Children, even young children, can feel the weight of everyday life, and too easily forget the many positive things that happened during the day. The diary provided an opportunity for our Junior School children to take a step back, reflect on their day, all that went well, and that which didn’t go so well, and all for which they might be thankful.

boy playing
girls playing

A poignant moment for me was in our Junior School assembly after half term when the Pre-Prep children told us of their experience of completing the diary. Several children spoke about how they had enjoyed filling in the diaries. Why, I asked? They said that they had enjoyed spending time with Mum or Dad, they had enjoyed thinking about and remembering their day. Touchingly, they had also enjoyed writing about their feelings. All of us adults present were moved to hear the children speak so openly about the process of keeping their diaries.

I was also pleased to hear from many parents afterwards who told me that the project proved to be a worthwhile and enjoyable exercise, not only for their children but for them too!

boys on pgl trip
children at sports day
“The diary allowed a space to talk about our feelings, which is unfortunately something that can get lost in a busy day.”
Junior School Parent, Year 2
“It’s important to share as well as for the children to know that as adults we don’t always get things right.”
Junior School Parent, Year 1
“It made us contemplate our simple everyday activities… and showed that the Junior School value pupils wellbeing as much as their academic progress.”
Junior School Parent, Year 1
“Please may we have another one for the Easter holidays!”
Junior School Parent, Year 2


I am very grateful to those parents who made suggestions - it was super to receive feedback from over 40% of our parents -  and you can read all of the feedback here.

To find out more about how we help our Junior School pupils discover, realise and become their potential, please contact us on 01432 363511. We would be delighted to show you around the School and our pupils will be happy to tell you more. Alternatively, book onto our upcoming Junior School & Nursery Open Morning using the link below.

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