In 2022, St Mary’s College placed wellbeing at the heart of education with the introduction of a school-wide approach to student and staff wellbeing known as Positive Education.
Based on the science of positive psychology, Positive Education encourages students to pursue their own wellbeing and understand their character strengths, thereby fostering positive and healthy personal interactions, resilience and proactivity in achieving their goals.
Research informs us that happier students can improve their focus and better engage in academic activities, such as problem solving.
Better academic performance, in turn, increases feelings of wellbeing and success.
Positive Education was first implemented at the College in the form of The Resilience Project (TRP), which provides evidence-based, practical wellbeing strategies to build happiness and resilience.
TRP focuses on three key pillars that have been proven to cultivate positive emotion; Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness, with Emotional Literacy being a foundational skill to practise these strategies.
The Senior School Pillars program is underpinned by Positive Education and the PERMAH framework, which consists of six overarching domains 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 at the link below.
Positive Education in practice
Through presentations, wellbeing journals and an extensive school curriculum delivered in Positive Education lessons, students focus and reflect on the positive aspects of their lives with a spirit of gratitude. They are encouraged to understand and have empathy for others, and to practise being kind and compassionate to one another. To support the delivery of TRP, staff regularly participate in professional learning opportunities to gain the tools needed to improve the mental health of our students.
Since its implementation, The Resilience Education program has been extended to families of the College through the TRP@Home online portal, where parents and carers can access resources to support not only their child’s mental health, but their mental health as well. Further to this, the College subscribes to SchoolTV, an online resource which provides a myriad of support material on a diverse range of topics in the form of apps, books, fact sheets, websites and videos.
As a community, it is critical that we do everything in our power to help our students improve their mental health, and that we find ways to equip them with the knowledge and tools to work their way through the challenges they face. Giving students, parents, carers and staff the language and practices of gratitude, empathy, mindfulness and emotional literacy, so that they can flourish, is an ongoing priority for the College.
Working alongside parents and carers, our collective goal is for all students to be happy, productive and resilient individuals who will fulfil their potential and who will contribute positively to their communities now and in their futures.
– St Mary’s College Learning Engagement Framework