The education we only dreamed of! School introduces incredible life skills initiative to help students flourish

Programme will improve the minds of our future generations

For many schools, wellbeing education is still seen as an extracurricular that is taught on timetable drop-down days once a year.

Yet one school deserves a gold medal in how they are helping their students flourish.

Not only are they celebrating wellness, they are also shining a light on perceived negative traits such as envy and jealousy to paint a better portrait of what mental health looks like.

Over in Oz, the Geelong Grammar School have created their Institute of Positive Education programme, an initiative aimed at improving the minds of their future generations.

The primary role is to deliver transformational educational programmes to promote wellbeing by teaching students valuable life skills on which they can build a successful and happy life.

Speaking about the project, the school’s Vice Principal, Charlie Scudamore, explained that he sees the mission as an ongoing experience rather than just an add-on to academia.

“If we can open these ideas to young people, what it means to flourish, I see it as a very powerful educational experience.”

Charlie Scudamore, Geelong Grammar School Vice Principal

Mr Scudamore explained: “If you put positive education in a nutshell, it’s about feeling good and doing good. Feeling good, in that you know yourself, understand yourself and the full emotional range you have – and that includes anger, envy, and jealousy – it’s not eliminating those things.

“But understand yourself, and then go out there and do good… ”

The initiative takes it core beliefs from American psychologist and educator Martin Seligman who created the PERMA [positive, emotion, relationships, meaning, achievement] model.

Using this, it is believed that focusing on the PERMA practice can decrease depression and anxiety, improve physical health, while also increasing peace and productivity.

Justin Robinson, Director at the Institute of Positive Education, perhaps described it best when he said the goals are not necessarily to make someone unrealistically happy but instead shift them to a more neutral place if they have been struggling.

Mr Robinson said: “We sometimes talk about a wellbeing continuum from -10 to 10, and psychology can help people in the negative zone to try and get them back to the 0 mark.

“Isn’t it just as valuable to focus on people’s strengths, to focus on what makes life worth living, to focus on how we can lead a live with meaning and purpose with strong relationships?”

Meanwhile, his Associate Director, Janis Coffey, added that their use of positive education supports best practice teaching and learning because it teaches students about growth mindsets; how to capitalise on their strengths; and how to tune into thinking and self-talk.

This not only helps young people in the classroom, but also builds a greater sense of wellbeing in the wider world long after they have left the school gates for the final time.

We only wish we had had this education when we were at school.


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