Stepping Stones to Resilience

Junior School Saturday, 01 June 2024

Helena College is dedicated to nurturing student wellbeing, a cornerstone of its mission to cultivate and motivate students to achieve their best through a holistic approach to child development.

In the Junior School, a key element of our student wellbeing program is the weekly Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) sessions led by the College’s on-campus psychologist. These activities are tailored to meet the specific needs of each age group, with discussions and activities designed to be engaging and age-appropriate.

Complementing existing Health Education and Protective Behaviour learning experiences, SEL lessons provide further opportunities for students to gain and develop greater social and emotional awareness and, to practice interpersonal skills as they learn, develop and grow. The SEL experiences aim to help students learn the competencies and skills they will need to build resilience and effectively manage their emotions, behaviour and relationships with others.

There is much research and evidence that supports the delivery of SEL lessons to students, including positive outcomes for mental health, student’s flourishing in their education journey, and, a student’s positive future.

During Term One, the focus is on Friendships, which can be particularly challenging at the beginning of the year with new teachers and classmates. In the Early Learning Centre, children learn about making friends, sharing, and kindness. In older year groups, the focus shifts to topics like bullying and standing up for others.

In Term Two, the theme shifts to Feelings. Younger students learn about recognising their own feelings and those of others, while older students explore how thoughts can affect feelings and behaviour.

Term Three emphasises Growth Mindset, encouraging students to embrace challenges and learn from mistakes, viewing them as opportunities for growth.

Diversity is the focus of Term Four, where students learn about similarities and differences, including cultural diversity. They also explore how everyone’s strengths and vulnerabilities can be used to achieve great things together. Topics like neurodiversity and mental health are also covered.

This year, students from Kindy to Year 2 have been introduced to Dougie the Dog, a stuffed toy who helps create a sense of comfort and routine. In Term One, students helped Dougie overcome some of his bad habits, fostering a sense of empathy and responsibility.

Helena College firmly believes that the SEL program is vital in building resilience and a positive mindset in students, helping them navigate life’s challenges. Underpinning the offerings and learning opportunities at Helena College Junior School is the partnership between school and home. College staff and families strive together to create settings that better support children’s social and emotional wellbeing needs - with SEL lessons providing another wonderful platform to do so.