Research shows that wellbeing has a significant impact on educational outcomes for students across all year groups.

The St Mary’s College Pillars program is underpinned by Positive Education and the PERMAH framework, a wellbeing theory developed by positive psychologist Martin Seligman.

The PERMAH framework consists of six overarching domains, or ‘essential elements to wellbeing’, that are supported by scientifically based skills and knowledge.

These six domains – positive emotions, engagement, respectful relationships, meaning, accomplishment and health – are explained in more detail below.




Positive emotions

Positive emotions have a broadening effect on our thoughts and actions. They allow us to discard automatic responses and instead look for creative, flexible and unpredictable new ways of thinking and acting. Positive emotions are strongly correlated with both resilience and wellbeing. Emotions are contagious, and we know positive emotional states are conducive to building strong relationships.


Engagement occurs when we employ our skills and strengths to meet a challenge. When we are engaged, we focus our attention on a task and are at one with the moment. At St Mary’s College, setting challenges and cultivating engagement is what we aspire to every day. Whether it is in the classroom, the stage, or the sports field, we want our young people to feel engaged in life.

Respectful relationships

Relationships are fundamental to wellbeing. The experiences that contribute to wellbeing are often amplified through our relationships, for example, great joy, meaning, laughter, a feeling of belonging and pride in accomplishment. Connections to others can give life purpose and meaning. We want our young people to have the space to create and build lifelong relationships with their peers and teachers. Our young people flourish when they are seen and valued.


Having a sense of meaning and purpose occurs when we serve something bigger than ourselves. We know that cultivating connections to others, identifying and working toward a purpose, telling stories about our place in the world, and making a contribution beyond ourselves can immeasurably deepen our lives and our wellbeing. At St Mary’s, our goal is to influence young people who will use their strengths to make a positive contribution to the world.


Human beings have a basic need to feel they are growing and making progress in life. We like to feel we are achieving our goals and moving forward. At St Mary’s College, we take this pillar very seriously and know the importance of providing our young people with feedback that motivates them to strive towards their personal goals.


Good mental and physical health is integral to wellbeing. Our ability to sleep deeply, eat well and exercise regularly has a significant impact on all other elements of wellbeing. Maintaining physical vitality is essential for building resilience and bouncing back through adversity and challenge.

Under the PERMAH framework, students will enjoy a diverse range of learning experiences both within the classrooms and beyond the school gates, designed to help them improve their mental health and equip them with the knowledge and tools to work their way through the challenges they face.

Parents and carers are encouraged to view the updated College Diary which contains resources that focus on building resilience, self-reflection and character strengths as part of the PERMAH framework.


SMC Toolbox

Groving our love of learning

St Mary's College is located on the traditional lands of the muwinina people of the South East Nation. We acknowledge and deeply respect the palawa people, the Tasmanian Aboriginal Community, and all Elders past and present. We are committed to learning alongside our students and community in this place, nipaluna, and support the continued sharing of knowledge and culture.