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8 May 2020

posted 7 May 2020, 18:08 by Carolyn Brett   [ updated 7 May 2020, 18:10 ]
This week, I have been reflecting on the work that has been going on around Wellbeing over the last few weeks. I personally receive about 20 emails a day from companies sending this resource, that free trial, sign up now! The offers are often generous and, at times, just toooo much! 

Sifting through the information, I am relieved to know I haven't missed anything, that our school Wellbeing/Pos Ed programme covers it all and is deep rooted and well fertilised.

Each year, we survey the Year 5 and 6 students using the EPOCH tool. This evaluative tool was developed by Professor Peggy Kern. (To find out more, see The EPOCH Measure of Adolescent Wellbeing.)

This gives us a bit of  a feel for where the children are at. We talk them through the questions and give examples and then they answer the questions individually. I'm not saying it's completely scientifically validated - however - it's a good 'feel' for it!

Here are the results from the end of last year for this year's Year 6s: 



So - it was very interesting last year when one of our Year 6 parents who was embarking on the road to Intermediate school commented that she had discovered that her child had never heard of the word 'Optimism' before. It made me think and, in fact, I don't think it's necessarily well used vocab....... until we have tried to make it so!

In a farewell message, this family thanked us for "supporting them to choose to be more of  Pooh (more of an optimist) than an Eeyore (very much the pessimist)". This was the message I had given the Year 6s at the end of year and I hadn't really intended it to become more of a whole whānau thing at the time.... so was thrilled to receive this note.

From the EPOCH survey, and working from an evidence base, including plenty of anecdotal observation..., we decided that optimism would feature more prominently in our programme this year. Both our Bounceback Wellbeing programme and our whole Pos Ed programme dip into this too. It's certainly not about focusing only on the good things in our lives while dismissing the bad things, it's about acknowledging struggles and explaining them in ways that increase self-control and belief that things can change for the better. It can be learned.

Life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on the optimist as on the pessimist, but the optimist weathers them better.” (Seligman, 2006)

My hope is that our Worser Bay kids keep these tools in their pocket as they move on through the world. I still work actively on it, as do the staff... this is part of our learn it, live it, teach it, embed it philosophy. But, rest assured, we are talking about grounded in reality optimism here, folks, not the happyology life is always a box of fluffies optimism! That's not real life!

Let's help each other and our children to make it more of the default! Who doesn't want better health, motivation, performance and outcomes after all? Ah, yes please!