What we believe informs our actions – Part II
Following on from last week where I presented the core beliefs that inform our wellbeing approach, I want to continue with looking at the three key contributors to having healthy students and at the ways we build student wellbeing.
3 Key Contributors
A strong sense of positive identity – We are all created uniquely and in the image of God, with a purpose and the capacity to fulfil this purpose. We are loved, blessed and designed to make a meaningful contribution to the world in which we live. We are creative, wise and gifted to support the weak, reach out to the downtrodden and to act justly.
Connected with others in positive relationships – God as the triune is a God of community and he has formed us to be in community with others. Staff are committed to forming respectful, honouring relationships with all students, that affirm who they are and support them in all they do. The culture and programs are tailored to foster positive affirming relationships between students in which they are free to acknowledge and appreciate each other’s strengths and differences.
A strong sense of belonging – Belonging comes from having a positive belief about your own contribution to and connection with the people in your community, it comes from taking ownership of your learning and knowing that you are engaged in activities that foster your own growth. Belonging comes from knowing you are valued and being able to value and serve others.
Firstly, our key values are taught and demonstrated by staff and encouraged in the life of all students. Regardless of which year level a student is in, values are frankly and sincerely explored in order to be fluently expressed. It should be our values that are informing our actions and attitudes. This is part of daily life in the classroom and in the playground. It is part of whole school assemblies and small group activities. The foundation for our values is established through daily bible-based devotions.
Our character is a significant part of our identity. Building character strengths such as integrity, compassion, joy, patience, persistence and optimism, and teaching students to recognise these strengths in themselves builds a culture of wellbeing, supports academic achievement and equips students to influence their world with integrity.
Secondly, we teach and promote healthy habits of mind. The way we think is critical to our wellbeing and to who we are – it’s more than being positive – it’s about right thinking.
Romans 12:2 says, “Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Taking control of our thinking, being present in the here and now, having a mindset that allows for growth and mindfully engaging in learning are skills which need to be taught and exercised. We incorporate the 16 habits of mind identified by Costa and Kallick across the curriculum. They are taught by teachers and acknowledged by staff and students when seen in action.
Learning to be mindful of what we are taking in, how we are acting and the way we are thinking has positive benefits for everyone.
In addition, we are continuing to work at building a common language and understanding amongst the staff and students that supports wellbeing as language is critical in establishing and maintaining and achieving our goal of seeing all our students and staff flourish.
Alongside our embed practises, at times, it is necessary to host wellbeing interventions. Over the years this has been done in different forms such as special focus activities like our resilience projects including Bounce Back, programs such as Shine for Girls and Strength for Boys, and Chicks Chilling.
Of course it doesn’t stop there; developing a culture of wellbeing that captures everyone is an ongoing responsive process. Currently, in consultation with the school psychologist we are reviewing our practise and developing a way forward that will see all of us go from strength to strength.