Our school is part of the Kids Matter initiative. The kids matter website has an excellent parents section; particularly useful are the information sheets that parents can access by clicking the logo above.
First Day At School
Wellbeing is mostly about mental health, but is also linked to general physical health and safety. The Wellbeing Policy at our school is aimed at giving children awareness of the how to cope with life’s up and downs, being able to recognise how they are feeling and awareness of any health risks that are around.
The most important programme that is encompassed by wellbeing is the Child Protection Curriculum, that teaches kids that that they have the right to be safe and how to get help if they feel unsafe, particularly from any form of abuse. This is an R-7 programme mandated in all SA Public Schools.
Another focus is Bullying – what it is, how to deal with it and what to do as a bystander. Each year we collect data on bullying in the school and get children involved in discussions about the effects of bullying and strategies for dealing with it. The data collected has been published online and shared with various classes.
Linked in with bullying is cyber bullying and cyber safety, another topic that is covered by our Wellbeing policy. Getting the children to use good resources at school and sharing websites and information with families is another aspect of this area of Wellbeing.
At the end of 2013 we began looking at the Kids Matter Framework a national scheme sponsored by the Department of Health and Aging, Beyond Blue, Principals Australia Institute and the Australian Psychological Society. This Mental Health Initiative has a fourfold aim:
Creating a positive school community
Social and Emotional learning for students
Working with parents and carers
Helping children with mental health difficulties
We have already surveyed the school community and began investigating what we can do to make our school a more positive environment. We have an action team of school staff and parents.
We use many programs to teach children emotional awareness including Fun Friends to deal with anxiety, Bounceback for Resilience, Rock and Water for confidence and What’s the Buzz for general social skills.
Wellbeing has also looked at safety covering Sun Safety using resources from the Cancer Council, playground safety using materials from National Injury Awareness Day Material and fire safety from the Burnsafe institute.
The Wellbeing Co-ordinator and the CPSW Christian Pastoral Worker also work with children, staff and parents who need to talk to someone about issues they are having with bullying, anxiety or grief.