Student Engagement and Wellbeing
Bimbadeen Heights is a KidsMatter school. We believe that children who feel happy and safe in the school environment are more likely to become successful learners. Recognising the link between wellbeing and learning, our programs and practices support the development of social and emotional skills and positive mental health.
The KidsMatter framework promotes:
- · a sense of belonging
- · an inclusive environment
- · a strong relationship between members of the school community
- · a deep understanding of students
- · a positive attitude towards seeking help when needed
Bimbadeen Heights acknowledges that the relationships between all members of the school community, students, teachers, parents and our local neighbourhood is an important factor in providing a safe, supportive and inclusive school environment.
Bimbadeen Heights has an ethos where excellence is encouraged and diversity embraced. We aim to provide each child with the opportunity to develop to their full potential – intellectually, socially and personally in an environment that reflects our school values of respect, compassion, resilience and integrity.
The school wide positive behaviour support framework guides our whole school approach to discipline and behaviour interventions.
Applying an understanding of trauma informed practice and a restorative approach to manage conflict, we are able to effectively support all students in their social and emotional development..
Student Wellbeing Co-ordinator
Bimbadeen Heights has a teacher with special qualifications who is able to devote time outside the classroom to student wellbeing. Those children who require extra support can attend individual or group sessions designed to help them with issues such as:
- Grief and loss (e.g. family separation, death of a loved one)
- Social Skills
- Managing strong emotions (e.g. anger, anxiety)
- Individual support as needed
The Wellbeing Co-ordinator works closely with our School Chaplain who is available to support children and their families in a non-denominational capacity and our School Counsellor.
Attendance at these sessions can be initiated by parents or by teachers. As always, we emphasise the value of the home/school partnership.
Social and Emotional Learning Programs
Bimbadeen Heights has a number of structured programs which are designed to develop social and emotional learning skills (SEL) and to foster the wellbeing of our students. All year levels devotes time each week to explicitly teach social and emotional skills. These programs are further enhanced by regular circle time in classrooms. Social and Emotional learning programs at Years 3 to 6 are gender based to allow lessons to specifically target the needs of both boys and girls. SEL programs are aligned with the KidsMatter framework with its emphasis on positive mental health.
S.T.A.R.S. (Student Teams Are Really Special) – The whole school is divided into teams of students of mixed ages who meet regularly for circle time activities. This helps to build connectedness among the students and enables each child to get to know a wider range of people in the school.
Life Education – An accredited teacher spends several weeks at the school. Classes attend a session in the Life Education Van, learning about a healthy life style and making good choices. This forms the basis for our drug education program with class teachers using this visit as a focus for follow-up activities.
Our Social and Emotional Learning programs are further supported by specific lessons related to bullying, including cyber bullying and personal safety when using social media. Students are taught how to recognise, respond to and report bullying and to understand the crucial role of the bystander.
Specific puberty lessons from a trained adolescent health nurse/educator are also given to Year 5 and 6 students.
In the Playground
During recess and lunchtimes, there are always teachers in the playground to give assistance to children. Teachers on duty are given designated areas to ensure the whole school ground is supervised. They wear florescent jackets to make them highly visible. Teachers record playground incidents in official books, enabling staff to follow up and monitor incidents. Any patterns of behaviour also become apparent. Class teachers, the Wellbeing Co-ordinator and if necessary, the staff as a whole can then work together to deal with problems before they become entrenched. Behaviours such as bullying (the repeated targeting of a student in a way that causes that student distress) are rigorously addressed.
When necessary, alternative play arrangements are made for students who find the playground too challenging, or for health reasons require limited time outside or just prefer more passive play. The Kindness Room is open during recess and lunch and when available the library also offers more passive play choices.
As part of the SEL programs, students are taught social skills, how to build friendships and ways to manage social conflict. The ‘Wheel of Choice’ is on display in the classrooms and playground and gives students options on how to manage social situations. The school mantra is always ‘Make the problem smaller’.
Feature Student – TLC (Teacher Learner Conversations)
As part of our commitment to giving students a ‘voice’ and building teacher understanding of each child as an individual, all students have the opportunity to talk privately to their teacher and discuss their learning goals, challenges, friendships and any concerns. These documented conversations give a clear indication of student growth in both their learning and relationships and allow teachers to monitor any cause for concern.
Bimbadeen Heights uses a restorative approach when managing student behaviour. This approach involves working with students to recognise and repair the harm that inappropriate behaviour has caused to a relationship, rather than focusing on blame and punishment.
Behaviour expectations are intrinsically linked to our core values and are explicitly taught to students. Class agreements, which have been negotiated between teachers and students detail agreed behaviours that will enhance the opportunities to participate in class, achieve learning goals and work cooperatively with peers.
Year Six students look forward to regular classroom interaction with their young partners, such as eating lunch together, making things which might otherwise be too difficult for smaller children, reading to each other etc. Buddies are assigned after teachers become familiar with new Founders to enable those children with special needs to be considered. Year Six children are delighted to speak regularly with their Foundation Buddies in the playground, but encourage them to play with their own peers. It is important that the older children support the Founders in relating to other Foundation students rather than replacing those relationships.
Bimbadeen Heights has developed a mentoring partnership with members of our local community. This program is based on the World Vision’s KIDS HOPE AUS. Program but is now organised independently through the wellbeing team at Bimbadeen. Our mentors devote one hour a week to one student for one year – although many continue until the student has completed primary school. These wonderful mentors are committed to ensuring that this is a special and valued time of the week for their students.