The Weeden Wellbeing Program
At Weeden Heights we have many programs that operate to support our students across the school. Our program incorporates:
- A weekly program taught in every classroom using the Bounce Back Program as basis and incorporates our school values, mindfulness and Respectful Relationships
- A strong Transition Program which incorporates a preschool to school program and transitions across the whole school
- A School Wellbeing Officer which is funded using the Chaplaincy Grants offered through the government. Our Wellbeing Officer, works with individuals, groups, runs social skills classes or needs based groups while connecting with our wider community
- We are also supporting students through the Kids Coach program which involves amazing volunteers who work with students one on one and make a huge difference to their lives
- All of our programs are underpinned by our proactive approach to teaching wellbeing. For example; the garden program is an excellent place to share a problem
- Restorative Practices for the basis of all our discussions with a focus on strong relationships
We strongly believe…. Futures are Bright at Weeden Heights!
Bright Beginnings Transition
At Weeden Heights we know that if our students are supported in their transitions through all levels within a school then they will achieve more academically, socially and emotionally through their schooling. All students need to know what is expected and reflect on how they learn to optimise their learning.
Our whole school transition program, Bright Beginnings, was developed by school psychologist in conjunction with the classroom teachers and existing wellbeing programs such as Bounce Back. The whole school participates in the Bright Beginnings program facilitated by each class teacher. The program starts at the end of each school year, and then continues for the first few weeks of the new school year.
The Bright Beginnings Program encourages excellence in student learning, supports student wellbeing and provides a framework to build connectedness within classrooms and year levels.
The Bright Beginnings Program is structured to
- cater for individual’s needs
- link the individual to the next level
- build a sense of belonging in the next level
- provide an opportunity for individuals to reflect and learn about the factors that ease their transitions and thus prepare them for coping with changes later in life.
- develop shared understandings of what makes for a great learning environment.
- provide opportunities to reflect on how they best learn and develop structures that support their learning.
The Bright Beginnings Program also sets up students for a year of success in their learning as students are involved in:
- setting up agreements of classroom understandings,
- formulating ideas on quality work
- learning more about themselves and each other
- building connectedness for all members of the classroom
- reflecting on and discovering what helps their personal learning
- exploring different thinking tools
- setting personal goals and plans to achieve them
- creating a positive learning environment for all
This program forms the bases of our weekly whole school wellbeing program that is taught from prep to year 6. The philosophy of the Bounce Back Program is: if you are resilient you are able to cope reasonably well and bounce back from difficult situations or things not going to plan.
Throughout life children will need skills and attitudes to help them to ‘bounce back’ after taking a risk. It’s all a part of developing their RESILIENCE! They will encounter everyday challenges such as making mistakes, falling out with a friend, moving house or school and losing in a sports competition. Many will also face challenges such as adapting to family breakdowns, a step-family, the illness or death of a family member, or being bullied. The BOUNCE BACK Wellbeing and Resilience program teaches students, the skills and attitudes to help them become more resilient. It uses literature as a starting point for discussions and follow-up activities and is well supported by activities, role plays and lots of discussion.
These ten coping statements are a core part of the program.
BOUNCE BACK! stands for:
Bad times don’t last. Things always get better. Stay optimistic.
Other people can help if you talk to them. Get a reality check.
Unhelpful thinking makes you feel more upset. Think again.
Nobody is perfect – not you and not others.
Concentrate on the positives (no matter how small) and use laughter.
Everybody experiences sadness, failure, rejection and setbacks sometimes, not just you. They are a normal part of life. Try not to personalise them.
Blame fairly. How much of what happened was due to you, to others and to bad luck or circumstances?
Accept what can’t be changed (but try to change what you can change first).
Catastrophising exaggerates your worries. Don’t believe the worst possible picture.
Keep things in perspective. It’s only one part of your life.
Mindfulness techniques are present throughout the whole day in classrooms and not just during Wellbeing sessions. Teaching students a range of skills and techniques to be present and focus supports academic learning in the classroom.
Learning these techniques leads to better attention, memory, regulation of emotions and self awareness. It greatly benefits mind, body and behaviour by increasing the coherence of brain functioning, energy and alertness, happiness and self-confidence.
Students are taught to be active listeners, how to be mindful of their actions and how to be aware of their surroundings. Within the classroom it can be seen in many forms: meditation using such programs as Smiling Minds, directed colouring in, group activities and the use of personal journals.
With a ‘tool belt’ of mindfulness techniques we believe we are setting up our students for success for life!
Resilience, Rights & Respectful Relationships (the 4Rs), is a school-based program mandated by the Victorian Government and it is woven throughout the Wellbeing scope and sequence that has been developed and is taught at Weeden Heights Primary School.
This initiative forms part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence. It is aimed at providing a holistic approach to comprehensively address the drivers of gender-based violence and to create a future free from such violence through addressing the following areas:
- Emotional literacy
- Personal strengths
- Positive coping
- Problem solving
- Stress management
- Help seeking
- Gender and identity
- Positive gender relations
The content of the Respectful Relationships program has strengthened the classroom wellbeing program and reinforces the school value of RESPECT.
Weeden Heights Primary School is proud of the programs that operate within the school. We believe that if students are happy and have strong connections to a school then learning is enhanced to ensure that students maximise their potential.
Our Buddy Program develops and promotes positive relationships throughout the school. In particular the program establishes strong links between the incoming Preps and Year 4 students over a three year period. The Buddy Program supports children transitioning from pre-school to Weeden Heights. The Year 4 students are regularly involved in the monthly transition program, visit pre-schools with teachers and at the end of the year are working directly with their new buddy.
The formal aspect of the Buddy Program begins in the Prep year with the buddies now in Year 5. The program is well supported by two student leaders who are allocated Buddy Monitors. This leadership role ensures that the monitors work with the Prep and Year 5 teachers to negotiate appropriate activities and times to meet. Activities developed involve supporting in the playground, meeting for lunches, formal classroom activities, support in the computer lab and working directly on whole school events and days.
The program is an excellent opportunity for every Year 5 students to begin to develop and learn about leadership and responsibilities. This directly supports their personal development leading into the Year 6 Leadership Program. Our students look forward to being a part of this program and take great pride in the relationships that they develop.
Many lasting friendships are formed and a great deal of fun and learning take place. The Prep and Year 5 students and teachers meet regularly and share a variety of experiences.