With alarming statistics of mental illness, such as anxiety and depression, as well as the significant impact of COVID-19 on our society, we need to take a preventative approach to enhance the wellbeing of the students in our care.
The research tells us that when a student has high levels of wellbeing, their motivation and academic achievement is also enhanced (Buecker et al., 2018). In other words, wellbeing and learning are inextricably linked to one another.
At Danebank we care deeply about the wellbeing of our community and are committed to a whole-school approach to wellbeing. As such, we have become a foundational school in Australia for Visible Wellbeing in partnership with Professor Lea Waters from the University of Melbourne.
Wellbeing encompasses physical, mental, emotional and social factors and is a combination of feeling good and functioning well (Huppert & So, 2013). The Visible Wellbeing approach aims to provide both students and staff with a psychological toolkit that allows them to lead flourishing lives where they are able to function at their best.
We believe that wellbeing is more than just catering to the welfare needs of a few individuals; rather, it considers how to promote the wellbeing of everyone in the community, which is why we are so passionate about this approach.
The training of Danebank staff in Visible Wellbeing has enabled them to engage in a higher level of understanding and knowledge in the latest research and science related to wellbeing.
Staff are subsequently able to use this evidence-based approach in their teaching practice when delivering curriculum and pastoral care activities. With a focus on Professor Lea Waters' SEARCH framework (Strengths, Emotional Management, Attention and Awareness, Relationships, Coping, Habits and Goals) students' wellbeing is being enhanced.
We know that “inducing positive emotions (such as joyfulness, love, or appreciation) enlarges cognitive perspectives and enhances the ability of individuals to attend to more information, make richer interpretations, and experience higher levels of creativity and productivity” (Cameron, 2012). Our approach to wellbeing is one of the key areas in our teaching and learning framework to acknowledge its impact on the learning of our students.
Visible Wellbeing also compliments some of the existing strategies that we implement at Danebank including professional learning, pastoral-care lessons, tailored wellbeing support programs, student and staff wellbeing teams, PDHPE curriculum, wellbeing coaching and intervention programs though our school counselling team.
A whole-school approach to wellbeing can provide a strong protective factor for student wellbeing. With more than 16 years’ experience within girls education, I am passionate about the mindset and mental health of our students, and about enabling them to reach their full potential.
My aim as the Director of Wellbeing (P-12) is to continue to build upon the rich offerings and experiences that are in place to build the wellbeing of our Danebank community. I hope to enable and equip the students and staff with the tools that they need to flourish cognitively, socially, emotionally, physically and spiritually.