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.
Heads of Year
Each of the three year levels in the Senior School has a designated Head of Year. The Head of Year has a special relationship with their year level, being responsible for working collaboratively with teachers to ensure that the pastoral and developmental needs of students are met. They support students in meeting the School’s expectations and provide support for individual girls as needed.
Supporting Student Welfare
There can be times in the life of students when support is needed to help them achieve their best at school. To see the range of people who are available to assist students, please see Health and Wellbeing.
We are often asked about the discipline used within the school. In recent years, schools have preferred to use the term behavioural management which was seen as a softer term that showed a different style of creating the atmosphere and culture that was wanted. Discipline suggested that students were ‘made’ to behave. Management suggested a more consultative style.
The reality is we are asked about discipline within the school. Our reality is that we have little cause to discipline the girls. The girls’ behaviour is remarkable. This surprises people. Many read (and believe) the media coverage and community conversation about young people that gives a negative impression. We do not find this to be our experience. It is not that they “do what they are told” that we emphasise, rather we delight in the wonderful sense of cooperation and relationship between the girls and staff. Therefore, the sense of a need to ‘discipline’ is not a consideration. From time-to-time, a girl will need to be corrected but this is not discipline. Adults do this with other adults. Sanctions such as detentions or demerit points do not exist within the school. Conversation, guidance and high expectations do. They work because we have a relationship that matters between staff and the girls.