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10 May 2019

posted 9 May 2019, 20:18 by Carolyn Brett
In the holidays, we hosted two days of Positive Education aka Wellbeing workshops with educators from other schools here at WBS. The trainer, Jessica Taylor, from the Institute of Positive Education at Geelong Grammar School, Australia, brought joie de vivre, wisdom and skill over to our shores.

This isn't a new journey for us here, but it was a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge our progress, to reinforce our understandings but also very importantly take the understanding, the research, the science to a new level. She left us with a strong message about placing a wellbeing lens over everything we do.... even if we could do this 10% more, what would this look like and what could the benefits for our children (and staff/whānau) be? 

A new report from the Office of the Children's Commissioner and Oranga Tamariki identified that a third of the 6000 children and young people who contributed to the "What makes a good life?" report indicated they faced challenges, whilst 1 in 10 faced multiple challenges.

"New Zealand should be a place where all children and young people are able to develop and flourish. From what we heard, a significant number of children and young people face challenges. Children and young people have valuable ideas based on their everyday experiences and hopes for the future. We undertook this work so that their views can inform the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, designed to drive government action on child wellbeing, but could also be used to inform practitioners and communities who want to make a difference for children and young people."

This is what they had to say about "What makes a good school?"
  • Young people spend a lot of time at school and generally believe education is important for future opportunities. Schools and communities can have a major impact on their wellbeing.
  • Young people want kind, helpful teachers who care about them. They say teachers who are the same ethnicity as them are more likely to connect and talk with them.
  • Young people with disabilities want teachers to be more patient in order to help them learn.
  • Respondents want to learn content which is relevant to them and would like to do more preparation at school for the career they wish to pursue. Some want more Te Reo Māori classes in school. One young person said education should include going to the marae and learning from elders about how to be a leader.
  • Some young people talked about the culture of their school and said it needs to be okay to fail. They want schools to be more accepting and respectful.
  • A child with a disability said it was important to be able to go to a school they liked and that they were supported to stay in a mainstream school.
  • Young people from a refugee background talked about how important language was to them and their families. They see getting good at English as crucial to having a good life.
  • Young people talked about needing support to learn ‘life skills’. They saw this as an important part of helping them to become an adult and getting a job. They wanted to learn more about interpersonal skills, budgeting, making good choices, managing their anger and knowing how to access housing.
  • Although some young people had had negative education experiences, the vast majority were still enthusiastic about learning.

We have a lot of responsibility as parents and educators, don't we? But, hey, what opportunity to help our younger people flourish in life.

7 years ago I began my real learning into the depths of wellbeing and my certification project was all about words.... language....how we speak and what we say......after all:

             "The words we speak become the house we live in." (Hafiz)

Whilst we can't be expected to get it right all the time (sorry, folks), it's one thing we can be really conscious about when communicating with our children and each other and, most importantly, first we have to listen!

So, here's to listening, here's to speaking and here's to increasing the lens by at least 10%.
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