“POSITIVE psychology education will not only improve the well-being of our youth, it will also improve the well-being and prosperity of our whole community.”
‘Where There’s A Will’ co-founder Pauline Carrigan produced this powerful message during a forum at Scone High School on Monday night.
The information evening was hosted by the local foundation, which supports and facilitates the delivery of recognised positive education programs to schools in the Upper Hunter.
As one of five speakers, Mrs Carrigan told the packed hall that a collective approach was crucial for the initiative to be successful.
“Any time in history that our nation needed to change, or learn a new concept, it was delivered through educating our youth and, by ripple effect, seeping out into our homes and communities,” she said.
“This is what we are proposing to do right here in the Upper Hunter.
“And don’t be fearful, because academic results will improve as well. You know yourself, when you feel well you do well.
“It is going to take each and every one of us to achieve this goal – parents, teachers, business houses, local government, sporting organisations, and the like.
“Education is the key, so please say yes to this challenge.”
Director of well-being Dr Mathew White had earlier spoken of positive psychology’s focus on community strengths.
“I can see the potential for Scone to be a lighthouse for community well-being,” he said.
“The fact that you’ve been able to galvanise this amount of people for this conversation is a very exciting starting point.
“It tells you a lot about your community.
“You are a caring community – you clearly take this material seriously to rock up on a Monday night to hear a couple of people from out of town talk about this.”
Dr White also considered the question of whether Positive Education should be taught in schools.
“If you think about what happens in schools, we teach numeracy and literacy without even thinking twice about it,” he said.
“So we argue that teaching well-being in schools is a critical factor in helping young people to know and understand their own well-being before they require some sort of intervention.”
Scone High School principal Lindy Hunt added it was vital for youth to develop skills and help-seeking behaviours.
“Our schools in the Upper Hunter have been doing a whole range of things over time to assist students to develop the necessary skills to be resilient and to help them bounce back after adversity,” she said.
“We’ve also had teachers participate in professional learning to help them [to] help young people.
“Different schools have chosen different things, according to their contexts, because early primary students need different things compared to senior secondary for example.
“It is with a great deal of gratitude that we have already accepted funding from ‘Where There’s A Will’ in 2016 to assist both teachers and students.
“But schools can’t do it on their own – our young people can only build these skills in a supportive and positive community in which they are accepted, connected to, valued, and encouraged at all times.”
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