Over the next few weeks, the Young Witness will be featuring several local schools to showcase their programs that help reduce bullying.
Young Public School (YPS) has a single core belief that all children and teachers adhere to, it is quite simply ‘be honest, show kindness, respect people and property.’
It is the school's belief that everyone is equal, and its proactive approach to anti-bullying strategies encourage high self-esteem, acceptance and diversity according to YPS’ positive principals.
The strategies and programs the school has in place are not only limited to those in this article as the school is constantly updating and utilising new ideas and are used to support the emotional well-being of students in an effort to reduce the likelihood of bullying.
“It’s more preventative than reactive so students can think of other students first,” Principal Neil Muir said. “Both the staff and the students want to bring the best out in each other.”
Thinking of others (TOO) is a core program that YPS has initiated as a part of their positive principals.
It revolves around the ideals of empathy, friendliness and treating other people the way they’d like to be treated.
Staff at the school often refer to the acronym TOO and provide learning activities for students.
Teachers reward a student who has been ‘Thinking of Others’ through celebrations and activities, including organised buddy activities during TOO Week.
BounceBack! is a wellbeing and resilience program that addresses the environmental building blocks and personal skills for fostering resilience in children and young people.
“The program focuses mainly on the teaching of coping skills to help children and young people respond positively to the complexity of their everyday lives,” the practice principals said.
Danette Watson has introduced mindful practices including the Smiling Mind program to YPS, these programs are practised in larger group situations as well as within the classroom.
Students also have access to emotional and social support, via either one-on- one or organised group activities and sessions with both the school counsellor and chaplain.
The school’s Buddy program pairs primary and senior students with younger and infant students.
“This program fosters teamwork and encourages leadership and guidance within the school community,” the practice principals said.
Related to the Buddy program is the Peer Support program where Year 6 students support infant students in the playground through the coordination of games and social interactions.
Staff encourage playground and classroom socialisation by setting up activities and game stations, which are designed for students who find it difficult to interact with others or simply enjoy quiet play.
SLSO playground social support includes increased supervision in playgrounds so staff are able to pay particular attention to social interactions.
Volunteer mentors provide YPS students with one-on- one targeted support for those who need it the most, which can include social and emotional support.
YPS have a sporting leadership program that helps to develop leadership qualities between peers.
YPS also have a Girl’s Group, multicultural cooking and learning, sports and musical opportunities that aim to include all students.
The school feels passionately about participation and education around Harmony Day and NAIDOC Celebrations and encourages all students to play a part in both celebrations.
Seasons for Growth is a small group loss and grief education program.
“The program strengthens the social and emotional well-being of children who are dealing with significant loss or change,” the practice principals said.
This may include the death of a loved one, parental divorce or separation, the experience and aftermath of a natural disaster, moving house or school, as well as many other life changes and losses.
“The Cool Kids program is a structured, skills-based program that teaches children and their parents how to manage childhood anxiety, and focuses on teaching clear and practical skills,” the practice principals said.
“The program results in improved school attendance, academic achievement, confidence, the number of friends and involvement in extracurricular activities and decreases in worry, shyness, fear and family distress.”
Topics covered in the program include: Learning about feelings and anxiety, learning to think more realistically, parenting an anxious child, fighting fear by facing fear (stepladders), learning other coping skills such as building assertiveness or learning to solve problems.
Parents or carers wanting to know more about any of the programs YPS have in place are asked to contact the school.