Blockley Bank tales: helping children develop emotional well-being

Out Of The Ordinary

Kate H-N is a nurse by background and has worked as a counsellor, life coach and hypnotherapist. She is the creator of Blockley Bank Tales

Are you keen to help children develop their resilience, self-esteem and confidence so they can improve their emotional health and well-being and learn some key skills for creating their own happiness? 

This question has been at the forefront of a lifetime career in primary care for newly published author, Kate H.N.  Training as a nurse at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (before the Freeman Road Hospital was built!) gave her the nursing background from which she has created her life’s work, mostly in primary care, community services and public health at local, regional and national levels.

Kate has learned through life’s experience and her long NHS career in nursing, school nursing, midwifery, health visiting, paediatric liaison health visiting, national policy development, counselling, life coaching and hypnotherapy, that the power of a relaxed mind is endless for learning techniques that tackle stress and illness - and how it aids recovery and healthier living. She still maintains a small caseload of clients for clinic based therapy and executive life coaching and has, herself, benefited from the wisdom and drive of many significant people in her life who have guided, coached, mentored, supervised, inspired and challenged her in helping her achieve her goals andfinally end up producing a creative mechanism to offer children the tools to tackle some common issues they might face in their everyday lives.

Kate’s practical, fieldworking knowledge and commitment to effective health care commissioning and delivery by competent staff created her motivation to support staff at all levels to believe enough in themselves to make their aspirations come true.  She is a firm believer in the ‘you can do what you want to, if only you believe it’ philosophy of life and that it’s not always what you say, but the way that you say that gets you to the places you need to be.  A strong advocate of it being a strength, not a weakness to ask for help, Kate’s belief (born out a school life of not knowing how to ask for help), is that if children’s self-esteem, self-confidence and resilience can be nurtured and developed as soon as possible, the world would be a  happier place.  

She is an experienced trainer and facilitator and has designed and delivered a wealth of nationwide leadership programmes for front line staff and senior managers. The jewel in the crown of leadership is self-esteem, topped off with confidence and built on a structure of knowledge and competency.  Sadly and all too often, that jewel of self-esteem is missing and is the focus for development in Kate’s leadership training.  It’s never too late to nurture and develop these attributes and many an unexpected leader can emerge from the dark amongst a glow and sparkle of newly acquired self-esteem and self-belief.  Equally, it’s never too early to learn how to create self-esteem and confidence in the first place because every child’s mind matters!

Adults and children alike, we all react in different ways to life’s experiences, challenges and emotional disturbances. But often, people forget that children are not just ‘small adults’. All children, from birth onwards, react to the situations and crises they face according to their understanding and experience of their world and therefore react in their own individual ways.  However, there are common skills that can be learned which can help children improve their confidence to speak out, or identify someone to ask for support, or to manage their own communication more effectively with their friends and family. These skills form some essential ‘tools for happiness’ and can help create a strong foundation in life that can bring emotional well-being, mindfulness and happiness.  So how can they be portrayed to engage with children enough for them to want to practice them?  Getting into the mind of a child can be tricky!

Kate H.N. was brought up Nottinghamshire with her two brothers and lived in their family home on the edge of Sherwood Forest.  She was constantly captivated by what she perceived as the magic and mystery of the forest, woodland and its habitants.  Her active imagination created a world of make-believe, which was a great escape for her during her school years and became the foundation of her experience in writing stories with embedded messages over 30 years to entertain her friends and, in later years, the children of her friends. Consolidating her breadth of experience in the health service, with her childhood experiences and personal tactics for tackling the demons which can create such havoc in young lives - plus a large dose of humour and creativity -Kate recently published a series of six, positively written Relax ‘n Learn Teaching Tales which are designed in a creative, fun way to specifically help Key Stages 1 and 2 readers and listeners (i.e. 7-11 years) to relax and learn some important, basic messages for coping with some of life’s more common challenges that they might face.

The stories are designed to help the reader and/ or listener to recognise any parallels in their own lives with those of the make-believe creatures and then reflect and learn from them.  Calming introductory words encourage the reader or listener’s imagination to follow a safe, guided journey to a magical, riverside land called Blockley Bank.  By relaxing and stepping back from the ‘real world’ to observe how issues can be successfully tackled by the woodland animals and river creatures, the techniques described by Blockley Bank’s head coach, Eric the Oracle, can be transferred and applied to real life to promote positive thinking and help develop resilience, confidence, mindfulness and happiness. 

Creatively written and beautifully illustrated by Tim Bulmer, the first six tales cover:

  • Self-acceptance (to build self-esteem)
  • Self-belief and Positive Thinking (to build confidence)                              
  • More Haste, Less Speed (to encourage mindfulness)
  • Loss and Separation (to develop insight and understanding)
  • Bullying (to build self-worth and self-assurance)
  • Saying ‘No’ To Strangers (to create safety)

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By relaxing and stepping back from the ‘real world’ to observe how issues can be successfully tackled by the woodland animals and river creatures, the techniques described by Blockley Bank’s head coach, Eric the Oracle, can be transferred and applied to real life