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. B.H.P.S 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.
Student Wellbeing Co-ordinator
B.H.P.S 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.
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
B.H.P.S 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. Each year level devotes time each week to explicitly teach social and emotional skills. These programs are further enhanced by regular circle time in classrooms. Curriculum programs include:
You Can Do It – This program highlights the attributes of successful learners. Each term we feature one of the foundations – Getting Along, Organisation, Persistence and Confidence.
STOP, THINK, DO – This program is based on traffic light imagery and encourages students to make sensible choices – STOP (before reacting) THINK (What are my choices and their consequences? ) and DO (choose the best option).
Challenges and Choices – This program promotes wellbeing, self-management and inter-personal skills.
Girlfriends and Blokes – A series of lessons developed by the Year 3 and 4 team to support positive relationships, communication and social problem solving.
Brain and Brawn – A program developed for boys in Year 5 which through co-operative game situations, emphasises the importance of teamwork and how to support each other.
MPower Girls – A program for girls in Year 5, which explores issues of bullying, self-esteem and relationships between girls, assisting them to develop skills to cope and respond to issues such as teasing, gossip and exclusion.
Boyz Group - A program for boys in Year 6 that focuses on self-esteem and self-concept, puberty, communication, anger awareness and personal strategy planning, peer group pressure, role-models, body image and how to help a mate or ourselves.
Girlz Group – A program for girls in Year 6, which focuses on self-esteem and self-concept, puberty, communication, friendships and combating bullying , what it means to be a woman, role-models, body image and how to help a friend or ourselves.
Life Education – An accredited teacher spends several weeks at the school, usually during second term. Each class attends 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.
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 fun 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.
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 at lunchtime 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 and the library is open during two lunchtimes to provide more passive play choices – the Lego pit is very popular!
B.H.P.S 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.
Preps Play Area
Preps have their own playground for climbing, swinging and playing fantasy games. They also have their own large sandpit. Initially Prep children are very closely supervised and kept in these areas, but they very quickly gain enough confidence to begin exploring further afield in the playground.
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 Preps to enable those children with special needs to be considered. Year Six children are encouraged to speak regularly with their Prep Buddies in the playground, but encourage them to play with their own peers. It is important that the older children support the Preps in relating to other Preps rather than replacing those relationships.
B.H.P.S has developed a partnership with St. Francis in the Fields Anglican Church in Mooroolbark through World Vision’s KIDS HOPE program. World Vision trains caring adults how to mentor children and help them learn. These wonderful mentors are committed to ensuring that this is a special and valued time of the week for their students.