Student Wellbeing Programs at Larrakeyah Primary
While academic achievements are important to all of us, we know that student wellbeing across all age groups is a growing concern for parents and carers. After the last year of change and uncertainty in particular, strong coping skills, resilience and empathy is more important than ever.
At Larrakeyah Primary we have been running wellbeing programs for more than 5 years. Those programs focus on key life skills of coping and resilience, identifying and managing emotions and how to seek help.
We know that when we set our students up to be emotionally healthy, we get the best out of them. Here’s what we’re doing to improve the wellbeing of students at Larrakeyah Primary.
Peer Support Program
The Peer Support Program is a whole school program held in Term 1 each year. Year 6 – and some Year 5 students – are trained to lead small groups of students across all year levels, including Foundation. These groups of 10 students meet weekly, discuss important subjects relating to wellbeing and do activities together.
The theme for the first term 2021 is ‘Moving Forward’, focusing on planning, resilience, coping and communication. This overarching theme guides the activities and discussion for the rest of the term.
At the heart of the program is the 3-step Pause, Plan, Proceed model which teaches students how to deal with challenging situations by pausing, planning their response and then acting.
As well as giving our students knowledge and skills on looking after their own wellbeing, the program also teaches key leadership skills to the older students. We’ve found that this program has had a positive impact on the broader culture of the school, especially in the areas of inclusiveness, respect and cooperation.
Last year, the YouHue was trialled in some classrooms across the school. This year, YouHue and related activities were rolled out into classrooms across Larrakeyah Primary. The program focuses on teaching students from Foundation through to Year 6 how to identify and manage their emotions in a range of situations.
The app acts as a mood tracker which allows students to record their emotions at particular times during the school week. Combined with classroom activities, students are supported to work through common emotions and when they might experience them, why they feel certain emotions, how those feelings can be expressed and managed and where to seek help when those emotions become too much for them.
The YouHue app is still under development and we are helping the company by providing data and classroom experiences particularly from the early childhood grades.
Student wellbeing survey
Each year, we ask all of our students how they feel about their experience at our school. The questions and response methods are tailored to each age group, ranging from smiley face emojis in the earlier years through to agree/disagree statements for the older students.
The questions focus on feelings, behaviours and internal strengths and cover a range of topics including friendships, family, schoolwork, bullying, resilience and a range of other wellbeing markers.
Data is collated by year level and gender and this is used to inform the leadership team, classroom teachers and support staff on areas to focus on in the future.
Across the school, our teachers all have their own unique ways of introducing wellbeing into their classrooms. Many of our teachers have introduced mindfulness activities while others have introduced the ‘Third Space’ technique.
The ‘Third Space’ technique considers the space in time between what we are doing now and what we are going to do. It gives students time to reflect, rest and reset; process any emotions, take a breather and then move on to the next activity. Dealing with emotional energy when it’s first present is a great way to keep our students focused, happy and feeling good.
Wellbeing will continue to be a focus
We’re really proud of how our students and staff have taken to incorporating wellbeing into the school environment and we know we’re helping shape a generation of future leaders with resilience, empathy and strength.