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Socio-Emotional Learning to Grow Healthy Students

The tragic passing of two young girls whose social media profiles presented them both as popular and with bright and promising futures, has made headline news recently. One was just 14 years old and attended a country school while the other slightly older girl was in a leadership role at one of our APS schools. These untimely deaths have shocked communities and there is a long road ahead in terms of healing, and resolving some challenging unanswered questions.

Both girls were struggling with the disturbing, and increasingly prevalent issue of mental health difficulties. The younger could not see her way out of a bullying situation whilst the older was struggling with unresolved relationship issues. Both were dearly loved by their families and friends. Educators around the world are wrestling with the importance of growing healthy students with positive growth mindsets, whilst simultaneously equipping them with the skills to communicate pain and frustration and take positive steps in responding to life’s challenges. Dr Martin Seligman’s positive education theoretical PERMA model has helped educators to frame our program to help children flourish and thrive. P: Positive Emotion, E: Engagement, R: Relationships, M: Meaning, A: Accomplishment.

At Trinity, we have reviewed and implemented skills building in our students as part of our pastoral care program. In the Junior Years, students learn conflict resolution and team work through a game based program known as Play-is-the-Way. Through these thoughtfully designed games, the children develop positive and constructive communication skills while seeking to uplift rather put down others. The Peer Support Program was introduced last year throughout the college and implemented this year. The Program aims to help the older children develop their service hearts and community mindedness, by using their knowledge and skills to support their younger counterparts and build positive relationships between two year levels so as to increase their support base. Furthermore, our Year 9 students undertake The Rite Journey in single-gendered groups allowing them to discuss challenging and confronting life issues and topics. They are able to speak freely and with confidence so as to unravel their understanding of some of the pertinent life issues facing young adults today.

These programs support the existing pastoral support structure we have in place. Every student has a pastoral care teacher, i.e. class teacher and there are pastoral care staff on both campuses from Heads of Pastoral Care to Heads of Year from Year 6 to Year 12 and Heads of Campus. Our College Counsellor provides small group upskilling and one-to-one counselling for our students when referred by teachers and consented by parents. Please contact your child’s pastoral care or class teacher if you believe your child is experiencing any social or emotional issues. Their pastoral care teacher will then make the necessary recommendation should the matter require the support of the Head of Year, Head of Pastoral Care, College Counsellor, Head of Campus or myself. Partnering with, and keeping in close communication with the college is vital for your child’s socio-emotional wellbeing and is key to growing healthy, resilient young people who are thriving in life. This is, of course, a significant priority for the college.

The college will, in the coming weeks, be adding Parenting Resources to the Parent Portal to provide you with some valuable information.

Written by Dr Tsae Wong, Principal.


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