We know that students learn better if they are in a positive state of wellbeing and we want all of our students to develop in this way. We want them to understand that emotions, positive and negative, help us to pursue a life of greater meaning.
Positive Education Program
We believe that the skills and mindsets that promote wellbeing can be explicitly taught. We want to equip our students with the skills to flourish, to help them rise to life’s challenges, to make the most of setbacks and adversities and to accomplish tasks and dreams.
As part of our focus on wellbeing we draw on evidence from the science of Positive Psychology and teach it explicitly to our students through our Positive Education Program via our House Mentoring System and Year 7 Homerooms in the Senior School and within our Junior School and CEEd Programs. This is a critical element of how we support the education of the whole person at Grammar.
We want to develop optimism, connectedness, gratitude and perseverance in our students by:
- Helping them engage and relate to others
- Enhancing their learning
- Encouraging them to strive beyond their perceived limits
- Supporting them to find fulfilment in creativity, productivity and flow
- Reminding them to look beyond themselves and help others to find lasting meaning, satisfaction and wisdom in life
At each year level in Senior School we focus on a theme to develop explicit links with the teaching of Positive Psychology:
- Year 7: Relationships – fostering positive relationships throughout the School community
- Year 8: Respect – developing respect for self, community and the world in which we live
- Year 9: Resourcefulness – developing self-resourcefulness: strengths, leadership and life sustainability
- Year 10: Resilience – exploring courage and persistence in learning and life
- Year 11: Responsibility – learning to lead with independence, creativity and curiosity
- Year 12: Resolve – fostering academic tenacity and hardiness and setting SMART goals
“If Positive Psychology teaches us anything, it is that all of us are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. No one has it all, and no one lacks it all.”
– Christopher Peterson
Positive Psychology is an approach to psychology that focuses on what leads to life satisfaction. At Grammar it is the science we draw on to support our Wellbeing and Positive Education Programs. It is founded on research that confirms people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. It is underpinned by the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive.
“Wellbeing is a combination of feeling good as well as having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment.”
– Martin Seligman
Relationships based on positive emotion are vital for developing a sense of connection and belonging. With the security of positive relationships, students are more confident to take risks and extend their learning which leads to engagement, personal meaning and accomplishment.
At Grammar we follow the PERMA Model of Wellbeing (Seligman 2011) which has five measurable elements. We constantly cross-check student wellbeing and academic progress against these five essential elements:
- Positive Emotion: Experiencing and enjoying positive emotion and understanding negative emotion
- Engagement: Experiencing flow through being truly engaged in what we are doing and working hard
- Relationships: Experiencing happiness through having meaningful and positive interactions with others
- Meaning: Experiencing wellbeing through creating a purposeful narrative about our lives
- Accomplishment: Flourishing through striving to better ourselves and following our core values
Character strengths allow a person to be their best self. According to the VIA Institute on Character, when someone uses their character strengths they experience more positive emotion, more engagement, better relationships, more meaning and more accomplishment.
Developing character strengths can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life by having a positive impact on their happiness, relationships, careers and personal growth.
From Year 7 we introduce our students to the 24 VIA Character Strengths. We begin to familiarise them with the language and what their strengths might look like in action. As part of our focus on fostering positive relationships with self and others, students are guided to recognise strengths in themselves and each other.
As part of our structured Positive Education Program our students learn how to:
- Identify their character strengths and the positive effect they experience when they use them
- Practise gratitude
- Develop a growth mindset
- Build resilience
- Practise mindfulness