Wellbeing program empowers student leaders

Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Primary School Miranda’s 2020 Year 6 class will hit the ground running as their school’s new leaders, after championing a program that models and rewards positive behavior in their classrooms and playground.

Their values of safety, respect and responsibility are part of the School Wide Positive Behaviour for Learning (SWPBL) program. What students learn from this is supported by a dedicated wellbeing week each term where students consider everything from kindness, physical fitness and healthy eating to mindfulness and care for the environment.

Year 5 students hone their leadership skills when they help communicate the school’s expectations of student behavior to their younger peers with slideshow presentations.

Our focuses are respect, responsibility and safety.

– Kate Henniker

Year 5 SWPBL student coordinators Kate Henniker and Christian Di Noia said their school rewards positive behavior with things including bronze, silver, and gold awards, ice blocks, pizza, and being able to sit on the silver seats at school pick up and assembly.

Kate said a star system rewards a class and student who best demonstrate respect, responsibility and safety each week.

 “It depends on what is relevant to the week,” she said. “We cover respect for adults, each other, our surroundings and the environment.

“At assembly we have the focus of the week and see if a class deserves a star for being good. On Friday we have the class of the week – the class with the most stars.

“We also have a star student that teachers and others have seen be good around the school. If we are going on an excursion, it might be about respecting our surroundings and being responsible for ourselves and our belongings.”

With their peers explaining things to them and rewarding them, they really listen.

– Matilda Raper

Christian said the program had given him the tools to help his Kindergarten buddy adjust to school.

“I feel like they [younger students] are gaining that confidence as well to step up,” he said.

“Because we have shared motto for the whole school, if someone from Year 2 is doing the wrong thing, someone in Year 1 has the confidence to step up and say ‘that’s not right’.”

The school’s SWPBL Coordinators Louise Beattie and Matilda Raper said the program had a positive effect not just on wellbeing and playground harmony, but on academic growth demonstrated by years 3 and 5 NAPLAN data.

“It starts in Kindergarten,” Ms Raper said. “Even though they are only little, we are teaching them to have responsibility for their learning. With their peers explaining things to them and rewarding them, they really listen. It’s really nice to watch.”

A wellbeing week each term that demonstrates to students how they can look after themselves and others physically, mentally, socially, and emotionally.

 “Because we use the same language from Year 6 to Kindergarten, they’ve got a better understanding as they move up the grades of what we expect of them,” Mrs Beattie said.

“It’s about the class working together and not disappointing each other. The older children are the role models and the ones the younger children look up to.”

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