Cardiff Metropolitan University has launched a wellbeing app designed by primary pupils with university students to support schools and parents in enhancing children's wellbeing.
The iValue U Wellbeing App, which recently became available to download from the Apple App Store, was developed by Welsh primary pupils for other children.
iValue U resulted from a year-long project between Cardiff Metropolitan University's School of Education and Social Policy and schools across South Wales. The project, which was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW), was created to tackle the increasing problem of rising screen time use among young children, who could instead enjoy time outdoors.
In response to research suggesting fewer young people feel they have access to green spaces and feel increasingly disconnected from nature, Cardiff Met lecturers Nick Young, Dylan Adams and Lisa Fenn decided to collaborate closely with regional primary schools.
Dylan Adams said: "Discussions around wellbeing are at the forefront of debate in both education and politics. In the new proposed curriculum wellbeing is now one of the six key areas of learning. In addition, The Wellbeing of the Future Generations (Wales) Act calls on communities to prioritise wellbeing, and sustainability. As a university, we can help schools in developing activities that support the engagement and learning in areas of wellbeing and sustainability."
All content within the iValue U Wellbeing App was designed and created by pupils from Blaenycwm, Maes yr Haul, Calon y Cymoedd and Deighton Primary schools with the guidance of Cardiff Metropolitan Year 2 Primary Education students. Together, the pupils and students were introduced to yoga, mindfulness, multisensory meditative activities, bibliotherapy, dance and outdoor pedagogy, highlighting how mindfulness approaches can be incorporated into teaching as well as everyday life.
Rhian Williams-Jones, a teacher at Maes Yr Haul Primary School, said: "This whole project has become something our pupils are looking forward to. They decided to share their experiences and what they have learnt through mindfulness classes with their classmates. When they notice a friend struggling with their emotions, they have started to support them and suggest some of the coping strategies they learnt through this project, as more pupils come to them to ask for help. It is very inspiring to see the positive effect this has had on the young people involved."
One of the app's main advocates is former Wales and international rugby player Richard Parks, who has recently made his name in high level endurance adventures and expeditions.
He contributed to the project and said: "As a dad, the wellbeing of our children is the most important thing to me. Using technology to better support our mental wellbeing is an exciting way for young people, and all of us to better look after our mental health. This project is driven by and with young people at its core. They have brought so much hard work, creativity and energy into this project, which is inspiring, and I am very proud to have worked on this project together with Cardiff Metropolitan University and pupils across Wales."
The iValue U Wellbeing App is now available to download from the Apple App Store, sharing mental and physical wellbeing strategies for young people, parents and teachers.
To read this story in Welsh, click here.