The Thrive Program
It has long been acknowledged that wellbeing is more than the absence of physical or psychological illness. In broad terms, wellbeing can be described as the quality of a person’s life. Feeling good, experiencing pleasure and positive emotions and functioning well – our potential to flourish.
When we cultivate wellbeing, research suggests a number of positive outcomes, both socially and emotionally, as well as in relation to performance and productivity.
Research has found that school-based social and emotional learning is associated with improved social and emotional skills, behaviour and academic achievement (Durlak, Weissberg, Dymnicki, Taylor, & Schellinger, 2011). Furthermore, within a recent study of 287 Australian schools, the highest academic scores occurred when mental health promotion was included in a school’s priorities (Allen, Kern, Vella-Brodrick, & Waters, 2017).
Given this, approaching wellbeing in schools isn’t a competing agenda, but rather, supports the infrastructure to enable students to function at their best and flourish.
At St Hilda’s, our wellbeing approach includes:
- A comprehensive, developmentally appropriate wellbeing curriculum.
- Integration of wellbeing within teacher methods and practice.
- Opportunity to practice the skills of wellbeing and build community wellbeing through the THRIVE CONNECT, THRIVE SUCCEED & THRIVE CONTRIBUTE PROGRAMS.
Intellectual wellbeing – associated with achievement and success. Informed by motivation and persistence to achieve.
Emotional wellbeing – relates to self-awareness and emotional regulation. Includes how well we cope, and is often reflected by the level of a person’s resilience. Our capacity to self-reflect.
Physical Wellbeing – associated with the extent to which we feel physically safe and healthy.
Spiritual Wellbeing – our sense of meaning and purpose. Includes our connection to culture, religion or community and includes the beliefs, values and ethics we hold.
Ethical Wellbeing – relates to how we deal with others. What we value in relationships should be the basis of our actions.
Connecting with each other has been identified as one of the five essential elements of wellbeing. House based THRIVE / CONNECT groups consist of a small number of students from each year level, who meet twice a week with their Thrive Tutor. This allows for individual and small group relationships to develop between staff and students, thus providing opportunities to promote positive interactions and build a learning community.
Conversation in THRIVE CONNECT groups focuses on the “big three”: growth mindset, grit and wellbeing. Luke McKenna in his book THRIVE: Unlocking the Truth about Student Performance, validates research on directing students’ attention to what has significant, positive impact on learning and interactions.
Students quickly form a sense of belonging and allegiance to their House, Year Level and Co-curricular groups. Friendly competition and a sense of fun pervades house events and supports our lively school culture. Throughout the year students have the opportunity to participate in, or trial for a wide range of cultural and sporting activities as well as participate in groups with a focus on social justice and reaching out to community.
Our School Values, Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Hope and Grace, together with our Motto, Non Nobus Solum (not for ourselves alone) influence our interactions in both our local community and with our global connections.
The Middle School seeks to respond to students’ needs to grow and change, to become independent and to develop into active and reflective participants in society. We aim to provide a welcoming, safe, supportive environment in which students are known and cared for whilst being encouraged to contribute and develop their diverse gifts and talents. Pastoral care is a vital component of student experience, shaping student attitudes, willingness and capacity to cope with their academic studies. In the Middle School, through a combination of structured activities and personal relationships, students are cared for by their Head of Year with the support of their subject teachers and Thrive Time Connect staff.
Heads of Year (HOY) are responsible for the overall care of the students in their year groups, working collaboratively with both parents and staff to ensure the pastoral and developmental needs of the students are met. They are key people to whom parents should contact in relation to matters of either an academic or pastoral nature.
The Middle School plays a major role in fostering the attitudes, skills, and knowledge students require so that they may develop into responsible adults. It is essential that we build learning environments that promote positive relationships among all members of the school community and give the girls activities and responsibilities that enhance personal accountability, compassion, and respect for others.
Holding and communicating high expectations for student learning and behaviour is at the heart of our Middle School philosophy. The Middle School promotes a problem solving approach to behaviour management using restorative practices rather than a punitive system. This positive approach, seeks to build responsibility and bring about change in the behaviour and thinking of the students. Two key aspects to developing positive relationships and teaching responsible behaviours in the Middle School include proactive measures that increase motivation and cultivate student achievement, and taking action when misbehaviour occurs, to work towards resolution of the problem.
In order to recognise and promote positive behaviour, students in the Middle School can be nominated for Spirit Awards. By encouraging and acknowledging academic achievement, positive work habits, leadership skills, involvement in the School and general community and working on areas that are of interest, we hope to enable students to connect, contribute, and to feel capable. This positive approach of praise, recognition and encouragement helps to foster and build a climate for learning and teaching.
Staff will award Spirit Awards to students who display commendable behaviour during school activities such as class lessons, sport, excursions or other associated activities. Students work towards certificates that are presented at Middle School Assembly. These awards are linked to the learning dimensions of – Learning, Character and Community.
Transition and Orientation
Students entering the Middle School come from a wide feeder area with a diverse range of experiences. They may have been in the Junior School, another local primary school, interstate, overseas, or have attended distance education. St Hilda’s School seeks to offer these students a successful introduction to their Middle School experience by organising a range of activities that helps them make connections. Such activities stimulate positive feelings among students and lay a constructive foundation for the year to come.
Transition activities include:
- Year 6 meet with the Head of Middle School and the Head of Year 7 to help establish personal links.
- Year 6 classes experience a day in the Middle School. They participate in sample lessons, visit different classrooms, discover relevant information and gain a better insight into how the Middle School operates.
- Year 6 students take part in activities organised by the Year 9 House Leaders.
A tremendous amount of energy goes into the beginning of the school year. We want to give new students the best possible foundation to help them make their entry to Middle School a happy, successful, and productive experience. The Orientation program in the first week is the students’ first opportunity to get to know staff and other students, and to begin to make the connections that are crucial to their success in Middle School. It helps to build community, to prepare students for the year ahead, and to celebrate the fact that we are here together, ready to begin the important work of teaching and learning. A variety of activities are incorporated into the program that focus on helping students to get to know one another, developing trust and a sense of class identity.