Highlight of Teaching Jigsaw for Primary PSHE

By Julia Farraway | February 22, 2022

As a primary school teacher, I have always regarded our profession to be responsible for enabling the young people in our charge to become well rounded, not just in academia, but socially, emotionally, and mentally as well.

It, therefore, made no sense to me why Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) has not always been given the voice that it requires and deserves, even though it is not a compulsory part of the National Curriculum.

So, when my last school took up the baton and started using Jigsaw to teach PSHE, this was a game-changer, for everyone. These are my top five highlights of that experience.

Whole School Approach:

This really was a whole school approach. Everyone was on board. The staff had meetings to discuss the programme, whilst the children had assemblies introducing the new theme for the half term, with everyone studying the same theme, appropriate to their level.
This was brilliant because for the first time we had clear progression in PSHE that made sense. After the first couple of years of using the programme, you could really see the impact that this whole-school approach was having. I was able to refer to previous learning and link it to current learning. This was powerful stuff that was sticking!


Teaching is full-on and so when someone gives you a scheme of work that has everything in it- it really is a gift. It is time; something that all teachers, myself included, crave, as there is never enough of it! The lesson plans were so well researched, planned and laid out, that everything was there for you to deliver the lesson and deliver it well, step by step.


Jigsaw promotes that this is “the mindful approach to PSHE” and this is certainly true. On a hectic day, these few minutes of calm, focusing the mind and body and checking their emotions through mindfulness, really helped the children. The impact was more than just setting the tone for the lesson, but was actually about helping the children to stop and focus. For some children, this was particularly challenging as they had never encountered anything like this before.
Therefore, when I first started using Jigsaw, I would spend a little extra time on the breathing exercises and really encourage the children and any additional adults in the room to join in. I also took part as it was important to model what I was expecting. After some time, I found that children took these breathing and mindfulness exercises we did in the PSHE lessons and were applying them before they tackled other lessons or tasks and some even used them at home.


The resources provided in the Jigsaw scheme are fantastic. From a pupil's point of view, they provide an opportunity for peer to peer or whole-class discussion. There are also opportunities for individual work as well. All of the activities build on the themes and encourage the children to use and develop a range of cross-curricular skills such as speaking, listening and writing. From a teacher’s perspective, whilst the resources saved time, they complemented and reinforced the work that was done in the children’s assembly at the beginning of the unit.

Teaching that prepares the pupils for life:

The final highlight and probably the most important is that this scheme of work is designed to prepare the pupils for life. It has real research behind it which supports teaching and learning and so enables teachers and pupils to explore themes within the Jigsaw framework, in greater depth.

Additionally, from my teaching I saw that pupils were able to understand who they were and how they related to other people in the classroom, year group, school and their families; so again building and developing those social and emotional skills. This was really important for them if they were to become well-rounded individuals.

Happy School Girl Jigsaw

All in all, I found that Jigsaw, the mindful approach to PSHE, was a wholly worthwhile experience. As a result of having this scheme of work, the impact on the children was noticeable and they began to enjoy and engage more with PSHE lessons.

For me as a teacher, I enjoyed teaching it. The time saved with having everything given to me was better used by reading through and getting to grips with the material, so I could teach my pupils to the best of my ability and differentiate for their needs.

The impact of the teaching and learning that extends from implementing Jigsaw extends far beyond the bounds of the classroom. Each pupil is given an opportunity to develop and grow as an individual and as part of a community. Each teacher is given a solid framework to work within, to ensure that this happens.

Using Jigsaw now means that PSHE has the voice that it demands within the profession for our young people.



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