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12 March 2020

posted 11 Mar 2021, 14:18 by Carolyn Brett
In my weekly Friday email to staff last week, I asked the Camp teachers "What character strengths did you have to dial up or down during Camp?!" Yes, we have pretty similar conversations with each other that we do with the children. This fits with the notion of 'whole school wellbeing' and the teachers having to 'learn it, live it, teach it, embed it'. It's certainly not something that happens in a week, a year or even a few years to say "Yes, tick it off... it's embedded!"

Recent research out of Flinders University in Melbourne suggests it takes around a whole cohort change in a primary school to see the evidence of the 'embedded' within the culture and philosophy. That's 6 years in our school and, although we have been undertaking this work for this amount of time...., we aren't there yet! A bit like a car trip "Are we there yet?", " No.... not .... yet!" The context changes, the staff may change, the children change and their needs change, so we need to keep nimble, review, adapt and keep moving forwards.

Last week, I took the staff back to some of the key questions:
  • What do we mean by whole school wellbeing?
  • Who are the people?
  • What's taught? What's caught?
  • What are the personal, school and system factors that an individual sits within?
  • How can we draw on this whole system?
  • Are there practices and processes in our school that may undermine wellbeing? 
Positive Education/Wellbeing for all is about teaching with both heart and mind. It's about the students, teachers, support staff, leaders, Board, whānau, iwi, wider community.

It's a complex web and these elements can combine in sometimes unpredictable ways. However, as our foundation, our rock.... we have to keep focused in our work - knowing that the evidence shows that a strong wellbeing focus supports academic progress as well as the other facets of a 'whole person'.

You will be hearing a lot more about this over the year and, as parents are so central to this work, there will be plenty of opportunities for you to engage with and develop your own knowledge and skills about what and how we do it. If home and school are speaking a similar language, it's all the better for our tamariki to grow and thrive.

Parents have found the character strengths poster (created by our students and parents) and based on the Values in Action (VIA) 24 Character Strengths really handy at home. 

You can order a laminated A3 poster for home via Online Payments for $5.00.

You may even like to take the free VIA Character Strength 10 minute survey yourself and have a go at strengths spotting!