Pennington Education recommends using some or all of the following programs and resources to make addressing student wellbeing as straightforward as possible.
Having worked with numerous schools, I can see the benefit of addressing social and emotional needs from a variety of angles; combining programs and frameworks in unique ways to suit the individual contexts.
The other recommendations listed here can be used to complement this; I can provide guidance as to what might work best based on my experience working with teachers to find a solution that works for them by taking what they need from each resource.
I am proud to be a YOU CAN SIT WITH ME ambassador.
You Can Sit With Me provides highly visible wrist bands for children to wear in schools (5 per class), sports clubs and community groups to show that they welcome anyone to sit with them and that they are inclusive. Children are trained what to do and say if someone comes to sit with them by asking “Are You Ok?”.
I believe that compassion is the most important factor in creating a positive school environment, and becoming a You Can Sit With Me school is a simple and effective way to start.
All schools that take part in my Leaders of Tomorrow program are given the opportunity to become a You Can Sit With Me school, with wrist bands I provide.
The Bounce Back Wellbeing and Resilience Program
I consider the Bounce Back program to be a solid foundation for SEL in your school as it provides the curriculum required to teach skills explicitly, and to integrate them into literacy lessons.
Written by Dr Toni Noble and Dr Helen McGrath, Bounce Back! is q positive education approach to wellbeing, resilience and social-emotional learning for primary school children. The ten units provide lesson plans for Kindergarten - Year 6 that address all social and emotional competencies, using children's literature and cooperative learning strategies.
I have taught Bounce Back! for years and find the 'Bounce Back' acronym especially useful as it provides strategies the students can call upon when they are facing challenges.
The PROSPER framework
The PROSPER framework complements Bounce Back (or any SEL curriculum program) and details the essential psychological elements that influence both academic outcomes and student wellbeing. It can be used at a whole school level, down to classrooms to assess what is being done to promote Positivity, Relationships, Outcomes, Strengths, Purpose, Engagement and Resilience.
My Wellbeing Journal and Teacher's Manual
The wellbeing journal by Lauren O'Brien is a tool children can use to get their private thoughts out of their minds and onto paper, while simultaneously learning techniques and strategies to cope with life’s challenges. The teacher's manual by Rose Pennington provides information about each SEL concept as well as discussion questions and suggested activities for embedding them into all subject areas including Mathematics, History, etc.
I feel that it is especially useful to have go-to lessons that address outcomes from all KLAs and social and emotional competencies at the same time.
Unleash Learning™ is a teaching and learning system that boosts student engagement and creates consistent and effective teaching for every student in every classroom.
This is a professional development program that uses 360-degree feedback and goal setting to help staff improve. They assess themselves, then their students and colleagues assess them to present a well rounded view of their competencies across eight domains.
I believe that a core facet of teacher wellbeing is having control of goals and aspirations, and to feel competence in the role. This is a really efficient way for teachers to ascertain what they want to do and helps them plan to get there with goal setting and training advice.
If a teacher feels that a student needs extra help, they can suggest that parents obtain a GP referral and send it to onPsych. onPsych can then come to the school and provide one on one therapy for the child and/or their parents. They provide another avenue for behavioural and mental health care to students at no cost to the school or parents.
I think it's important to have some extra layers of follow up for those students who need more tailored strategies to help navigate through life. I'm really excited that this organisation exists to provide that support.
HITS and HOTS Teaching Strategies
This is a brilliant book full of teaching strategies that can be used in all subjects to engage the students and promote social and emotional skills at the same time, looking after both academic achievement and student wellbeing.
I have used the activities in most subjects and you really feel like teacher of the year when the kids are enjoying themselves so much!
URSTRONG is a school-wide relationship strategy that gives students, teachers and parents a common language when managing conflict and navigating the ups and downs in friendships. URSTRONG’s 8 session in-school curriculum ‘Friendology 101’ uses kid friendly language to explicitly teach students interpersonal and conflict-resolution skills, giving them practical skills and strategies to use when faced with relationship challenges.
It focuses on empowering students to be better friends and develop healthier relationships, and I think it sits really well alongside other SEL programs.
I've seen teachers use URSTRONG’s language and strategies to sort out playground conflicts with relative ease. This means that conflicts are quickly resolved and don’t then spill over into learning time in the classroom or affect a child’s capacity to focus.
Minds Wide Open
Minds Wide Open are PD providers and classroom resource creators. I attended one of their PD sessions on critical and creative thinking strategies and was really inspired by what I could do in my own classroom.
Critical and creative thinking is vital for resilience, as children need to know how to think their way out of a problem, or come up with solutions.
Philosophy for Children
We had dedicated philosophy classes at my last school and I loved the way the kids were taught to think. Philosophy for Children is a movement that aims to teach reasoning and argumentative skills to children.
Being able to question the world around us and think critically is vital for resilience, and for living ethically, not to mention fostering academic outcomes.
This is a great way to combine literacy with social awareness. Using Bookform software, students can interview relatives or visit retirement homes using the Bookform school program to understand the lives of others, and use this knowledge to publish a book.