Why Wellbeing?

The future of our students at Clairvaux, depends on what we do today. Currently 1 in 7 Australian primary school students will experience mental illness. The statistic increases for adolescence to 1 in 4. The World Health Organization predicts that depression will be the leading cause of disease globally by 2030. Clairvaux’s Wellbeing strategy is carefully comprised of evidence-based approaches. Positive education is taught implicitly and explicitly and social and emotional learning programs are used based on recommendations from kidsmatter.

Positive Psychology in Schools (Positive Education)

At Clairvaux our wellbeing strategy is informed by positive psychology research (the fastest growing field in psychology.) Positive psychology (PP) is the study of the conditions and processes that contribute to the flourishing or optimal functioning of individuals. Major aims of PP are to rise to life’s challenges, make the most of setbacks and adversity, engage with and relate to other people, find fulfillment in creativity and productivity, looking beyond oneself and help others to find lasting meaning, satisfaction, and wisdom.

Positive education is our approach to education that fosters traditional academic skills and skills for happiness and wellbeing. Positive education draws on knowledge from the field of positive psychology and aims to enhance the optimal functioning of students, teachers, staff, parents and the wider school community. It plays a crucial preventative role in reducing depression, anxiety and stress within the school environment

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions (Payton et al., 2000). Social and emotional skills are said to be essential to being a virtuous student, citizen and worker (Casel, 2015). School leaders acknowledge the significance of student wellbeing on all areas of outcomes. In a survey conducted, over 80 per cent of principals identify student emotional/mental health as being ‘very important’ for academic achievement (Rowling, Whitman, & Biewener, 2009).

Teaching children social and emotional skills helps to promote resilience – the capacity to cope and stay healthy in spite of the negative things that happen through life.

What does social and emotional learning have to do with learning?

Research has shown that children’s learning is influenced by a range of social and emotional factors. How well children do at school is affected by things such as:

  • how confident children feel about their abilities show effectively they are able to manage their own behaviour
  • how well they can concentrate and organise themselves
  • how effectively they can solve problems
  • how positively they are able to get on with teaching staff and with peers
  • how effectively they take into account others’ needs
  • how well they can understand and accept responsibilities.
  • how social and emotional learning is taught

A number of programs for school-based teaching of social and emotional skills have been developed in Australia and internationally.

Clairvaux Catholic School has selected and implemented programs that best suit our particular needs based on our school. Social and emotional learning programs that have been shown through research to improve children’s social and emotional competence are more likely to achieve goals related to improving students’ mental health.

School-wide classroom teaching of social and emotional learning allows staff and students to share a common understanding of what it is all about. Importantly, the emphasis of its teaching needs to be not just on learning about emotions and relationships, but on practical skills that children can apply across a range of situations at school, at home and in the broader community. Classroom teaching which is offered regularly will maximise the benefits. Opportunities for learning can be coordinated across the school so that children can continue to develop their skills with age and experience.