WELLBEING & ENGAGEMENT
At Elsternwick Primary School, we prioritise the explicit teaching of social and emotional skills to ensure that students have a holistic and positive experience at school. We acknowledge that feeling safe and secure in a supportive environment directly impacts students’ capacity to achieve their academic potential.
Our four year School Strategic Plan (2022 – 2026) wellbeing goal is for all members of our our community to feel safe, valued and respected. Our unique whole school preventative approach to student wellbeing is a key strategy towards achieving this goal. Our Guarunteed and Viable Curriculum for teaching Wellbeing incorporates the Respectful Relationships program, our partnership with The Resilience Project, The Zones of Regulation, Restorative Practices and sexuality and consent education. This aligns with the Social and Personal Capabilities Curriculum, and is informed by our involvement in the Human Rights pilot project. This confirms our commitment to practices that value diversity and inclusion.
The Key Learning Areas are introduced to students across all grades at the same time, allowing for reflective conversations as a family at home.
Our Year 6 leadership program provides students with the opportunity to apply for the position of Wellbeing leaders. These students take responsibility for getting feedback from students, reporting to school council and driving initiatives to improve student’s school experience, particularly in the playground.
We take a preventative approach to behaviour management, through our consistent approach to Supporting Positive Behaviour. Our guidelines complement our wellbeing curriculum framework to ensure that common language is used across the school and that incidents are dealt with through a respectful, supportive and restorative process.
Students’ actively participate in the development of their learning environments and class communities. Voice and agency is supported with weekly Student Voice Meetings to maximise students’ engagement and participation in all areas of school life (see leadership and student voice and agency for more details).
SUPPORTING POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR
EPS builds a positive school culture to ensure that students feel safe, valued and respected in their interactions with peers, staff and the community. We regularly discuss our school values and ‘good choices’ with students, which are acknowledged and celebrated to provide positive reinforcement.
We take a preventative approach to behaviour management by explicitly teaching appropriate social behaviours and intervening early to identify and respond to individual student needs or concerns. Our whole school behaviour management approach supports students to make good choices which help others to feel comfortable and safe. We help students understand that behaviour that impacts negatively on others will be addressed seriously with a fair and consistent four-step process for consequences.
Students co-create Classroom Agreements each year, based on our school values. This helps promote a culture in which values, beliefs and expectations are a shared responsibility as a classroom community. These are shared with families to encourage a consistent home school partnership, along with our ‘EPS talk’ key vocabulary resource below, which can support you in having conversations with your child at home.
WHOLE SCHOOL WELLBEING OVERVIEW
Each year, our staff work together to map out our whole school preventative approach to student wellbeing using the Social and Personal Capabilities Curriculum. Our staff acknowledge that students must have a positive experience at school in order for them to achieve and prioritise the explicit teaching of social and emotional skills to support this.
We review and consider the results of the Attitudes to School Survey and Resilient Youth Survey to inform our Key Learning Areas, and use resources from Respectful Relationships and The Resilience Project to drive our planning. The overview also incorporates the learning from our participation in the Human Rights pilot project and Autism Inclusion Training.
We seek regular feedback from students and parents and carers in relation to our School Strategic Plan goal and wellbeing curriculum. We share learning foci each term via the school newsletters and through the wellbeing leaders at assembly to promote and encourage conversations on these topics at home.
To read the Elsternwick Primary School Whole School Wellbeing Framework for 2021 please click below:
Elsternwick Primary School is a lead school for Respectful Relationships and was one of the first in the state to begin embedding the Respectful Relationships approach in 2018.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence states that school-based prevention is the most effective way to reduce the rate of family violence in Australia. Respectful Relationships education has been developed as a holistic approach to school-based, primary prevention of gender based violence. Students learn the skills required to: be emotionally literate; identify their personal strengths; develop strategies for positive coping, problem solving, stress management and help seeking and explore gender and identity and positive gender relationships. Lessons are evidence-based and age appropriate, and embedded throughout our whole school wellbeing curriculum overview along with lessons on sex education, body safety and consent.
Click here for further information.
HUMAN RIGHTS AND INCLUSION
EPS is committed to inclusive language and practice. Over the past three years our staff have worked with the Human Rights Commission and Safe Schools to develop policies, practices and resources to ensure students and their families feel safe, valued and respected as members of our community. We have recently developed our Inclusive Language and Practices Guide in consultation with our students and school community detailing our commitment to inclusive practices at our school (see link below).
Our LGBTIQ+ Student Support Policy and Inclusion and Diversity Policy also provide further detail to this commitment.
the resilience project
We are excited to be working with The Resilience Project this year. Students explore the four pillars of Gratitude, Empathy, Mindfulness and Emotional Literacy as part of our whole school approach to wellbeing. Students document their learning and reflections in their Resilience Project Student Journals, which they share with families throughout the year. There are opportunities for families to engage in learning tasks together at home and participate in an information session with the founder and author of The Resilience Project, Hugh van Cuylenberg.
Students in Years 3-6 are also invited to participate in The Resilient Youth Survey each year. Gathering this data on students’ resilience and wellbeing allows us to establish robust evidence-based practices to support the needs of each cohort as part of our wellbeing curriculum program.
Click here for further information about the University of Melbourne findings on effectiveness of The Resilience Project.
THE GREEN ZONE
The Green Zone is a unique space that we have established to support the wellbeing of students at our school. A committee of parents, staff and students collaborated to give input into the layout, environment and resources. We have recently received a $200 000 inclusion grant to rennovate and transform this space.
The aim of The Green Zone environment is to encourage calm, focus and supportive relationships, aligning with the philosophy of The Zones of Regulation social thinking approach. It has also been designed to support the specific needs of our students with additional needs.
The Green Zone is a multipurpose space:
• Students are able to access the space during recess and lunch, when identified by a member of staff as finding the social and emotional aspects of break times challenging.
• It also hosts parent/carer groups and small group intervention programs to support students social and emotional learning
This year we also have an outdoor ‘Green Zone’ space operating at recess and lunch to provide quiet activities and retreat during playtime.
The Green Zone was used by department, university and council delegates to launch the AllPlay Learn inclusive resources website in 2019. See a video that is shown featuring EPS as an example of best practice below.
Becky, our Inclusion Coordinator, works with a range of students across the school to support them in developing their social, emotional and communication skills. She has established a covid-safe outdoor Green Zone space at recess and lunchtime, as well as providing targeted support and intervention with small groups of students during learning time.
Students may work together on problem solving, turn-taking, building peer relationships, sharing, listening, compromising, teamwork, managing anxiety, mindfulness strategies… the list goes on!
mental health support - casea program
The Alfred Health Child and Youth Mental Health Service and Schools Early Action (CASEA) program is a Victoria-wide program, funded to provide mental health services in primary school settings. The program aims to work in and with Elsternwick Primary School to identify and intervene with children at risk of, or experiencing, mental health difficulties. These concerns can include difficulties with emotions, behaviour and/or socialising. The CASEA team also aims to increase mental health awareness and understanding in school communities and facilitate relationships between schools and mental health services.
The CASEA model offers multiple interventions for the school community. One component of the model is to provide support and education to the key adults caring for and supporting children. This includes parents, carers, teachers, wellbeing staff and ES staff. This approach is based on evidence that providing mental health intervention to the adults with whom the children spend the majority of their time with, is the most effective way to assist children to develop healthy mental health. The second component is to provide support through a group program for children and their families in Prep – grade 3, who are identified to be at risk of developing or experiencing mental health difficulties.
The CASEA program runs at Elsternwick Primary School for Term 1 and Term 2 on Thursdays in 2020.
the zoneS of regulation
The Zones of Regulation is a systematic, cognitive behaviour approach used to teach self-regulation by categorising all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete zones. The Zones are a simple way of expanding children’s emotional vocabulary. They are explored in many Kindergarten settings, enabling a continuity of learning between Kindergarten and school.
The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions. A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, explosive behaviour, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone.
The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions; however, one has some control when they are in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.
The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.
The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings, such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.
The Zones of Regulation is taught explicitly across all year levels and interactive displays encourage students to identify, articulate and regulate their emotions and behaviour and respond appropriately to the emotions of others.
wellbeing during remote learning
Thoughout Remote Learning in 2020 we developed a series of ‘Weekly Wellbeing Snippets’, which provided parents and carers with information to help them support their child’s wellbeing while learning at home. Topics include anxiety, bullying, self-regulation, inclusion and content covered in the classroom. Each episode also includes a resource guide with links to websites and services. Please find these videos below.