We recognise that engaging curriculum has a positive effect on wellbeing but also that learning can be severely impacted without good mental health. Therefore as part of our School Strategic Plan we have developed programs and strategies to build social and emotional wellbeing, and those that support individuals and specific groups of students. Some programs provide both.
Whole school initiatives to develop social and emotional health
Student Wellbeing is managed by me and I lead a team of staff to implement initiatives and resources. I meet with every class teacher early in term 2 to ensure that every student is identified, any issues are monitored and referrals and resources utilised. Notes are stored in Gradexpert, a comprehensive student management package, so that we can track wellbeing as well as learning across the school.
We are undertaking a four year process of review and action to build a positive school community that is founded on respectful relationships and a sense of belonging and inclusion for accreditation as a Kids Matter School. Teachers engage in professional development for each component and a parent forum on topics identified by parents, is held each term. Forums generally utilise the Kids Matter resources and it is worth visiting the website for some excellent information and tips on a huge range of issues https://www.kidsmatter.edu.au/
The Albert Park Way is an initiative of our work on Kids Matter and considered fundamental to all of our work at APPS. It is a common language of action and behaviour that we can all use on a daily basis and to instil a pride in the way we work and play.
Bounce Back- Resilience Program is a sequential P-6 program developing social and emotional learning through literature, discussion and role play. Every new class focuses on developing a shared understanding of the core values during term one each year and skills and strategies to build resilience are studies through a two-year cycle of units of study. The first cycle will be completed this year. http://www.bounceback.com.au/bounce-back/
The school is very well equipped with technology as a tool for learning. The eSmart program aims to explicitly teach cybersafe and responsible online behaviour to students across the school but recognise that it is best taught in partnership between home and school. We work closely with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation and engage them to provide, staff, students and parent information sessions. Keep your eyes peeled for the date of the sessions currently being organised.
Initiatives to build boost wellbeing and engagement
Lunchtime clubs were introduced to boost student safety and positive student interactions. Over the years an amazing band of parent and volunteers have lead a huge range of activities, some short term and others for a number of years. At present the clubs that run are Lego, Gardening, Calm Corner, Technology, Knitting, Art club, Crochet. The current schedule is outlined in this newsletter. If you have the energy and a great idea, come and chat to me as we ramp up this program in terms 2 and 3. A current Working With Children’s Check is required.
The re-instatement of our library, has also provided a secure and quiet retreat for students. It allows for supervised book browsing, borrowing and quiet activities for the first half hour of every lunchtime. Students then have a short time to stretch their legs and release energy before they return to classrooms.
Our recent focus has been on purchasing outdoor play equipment as a strategy to provide structured play opportunities and to enhance use of quiet ‘corners’ as respite from our crowded yard. Through a Telstra grant, organised by our parents and the Earn and Learn token program, we now have several large construction and games sets. ‘Paradise’ has become particularly busy outdoor play area.
Programs targeting specific groups and individuals
The school self- funds Social Worker, Lanie Tobias, is at the school for three days each week. She meets with students who ask for help or are identified by staff or parents. Lanie’s years of work with us ensure that she knows most students and families and offers fabulous support to all members of the school community.
DET School Psychologist Leigh Erasmus works with our team to provide assessments for students referred by teachers in consultation with parents. She provides a feedback with recommendations that are then incorporated into Individual Education Plans and regular Student Support Group meetings are held if required. Leigh also plays a vital role in enabling us to access Program for Students with Disabilities funding.
We utilise On Psych Counselling Services to provide a series of on-site counselling sessions. This service is accessed FREE through a general practioner referral and mental health plan.
Bicycles Over Lunchtime Program (BOLT) is a weekly boys mentoring and bike maintenance/repair program which is run by Southport Uniting Care for a small number of grade 5 and 6 boys.
We work as a staff to regularly evaluate our programs and source new programs targeted to our needs. We use the Smiling Minds mindfulness app in a number of classes and are trialling an Art Therapy program which aims to enhance students’ ability to express their thoughts and emotions to reduce stress. We have also engaged specialists in their fields to work with staff on supporting students through grief and enhancing our cultural inclusiveness
Your child’s classroom teacher is generally your first point of contact for issues pertaining to your child. However Lanie and I are available to work with you and the teachers to address wellbeing and can be contacted via the school office.
Please following this link to the Michael Grose ebook Happy_Kids_eBook.pdf.
You can also access Michael Grose's Blog for more parenting tips.
Another recommended website is www.parenting.sa.gov.au/