At Albany Rise the wellbeing of our students is paramount. To effectively meet the needs of our students, we take a whole school approach that focuses on safety and wellbeing throughout all school practices.
Albany Rise has clear, well defined and agreed expectations of acceptable types of staff, parent and student behaviour that allows all members of the school community to have a shared understanding of what unacceptable or bullying behaviour is. Teachers work in partnership with parents to reduce and manage anti-social behaviours.
Albany Rise is a Kids Matter School
KidsMatter is an Australian mental health and wellbeing initiative set in primary schools and in early childhood education and care services – like preschools, kindergartens and day care centres. It’s not a program, but a framework that helps these places take care of all their mental health needs by focusing on:
creating positive school and early childhood communities
teaching children skills for good social and emotional development
- working together with families
- recognising and getting help for children with mental health problems.
KidsMatter is funded by the Australian Government and beyondblue, and is a partnership between education and health sectors. It was developed by experts – mental health professionals and education and childcare staff – in response to the high rates of school-age children with mental health difficulties and the problems they face getting help.
KidsMatter is led by an Action Team that is made up of staff members and 2 parent representatives. The Action Team members at Albany Rise Primary School are:
Mrs Derina Mafodda (Parent)
Mrs Maria Fletcher (Parent)
Miss Kymberley Redford (Foundation Teacher)
Mrs Keirston Calleja (Student Wellbeing Coordinator & Action Team Leader)
Misss Sophie Miteff (Grade 1/2 Teacher)
Miss Adriana Costa (Grade 5/6 Teacher)
Albany Rise Primary School runs a whole school, social and emotional learning program called ‘Bounce Back’. It aims to promote positive mental health and wellbeing in our students and, in particular, to guide them to build further resilience to face challenges. The program focuses on classroom strategies and activities that aim to teach students those positive social and emotional skills that might be best described as ‘life skills’. The program will be taught by classroom teachers, with the assistance of our Student Wellbeing Coordinator, Mrs Keirston Calleja.
Bounce Back: A Wellbeing and Resilience Program, written by Dr Helen McGrath and Toni Noble
All of our staff at Albany Rise Primary School have received training in Restorative Practices. Restorative Practice involves working to enable students to take responsibility for their actions/ behaviours and repairing any harm done to relationships. All those affected by any conflict are assisted to find a way forward thus reducing anger and resentment. The focus is on building relationships and thereby developing a caring community. The approach ensures that students feel safe and happy in a supportive school environment. During the time ahead our school will be developing procedures and strategies to utilise a restorative approach with the students.
During our training on Restorative Practise, Marg Armstrong taught us how the use of Classroom Circles is a highly effective way we can build positive relationships in our classrooms, between students and their classmates, and between students and teachers. We know that students learn best when they feel safe and supported in their learning environment. Circles foster the development of such an environment.
Circles are happening on a regular basis at Albany Rise in every classroom. The class, along with the teacher, all sit on chairs (or on the floor) in a circle to speak, listen, interact, enhance relationships and share concerns.
The Key elements of Circles are:
- Having Positive relationships with classmates
- Understanding and valuing oneself
- Understanding and valuing others
Circles can be used to teach pro-social skills and build relationships; solve problems; review curriculum; evaluate what we have learnt in class and to develop restorative practice. Circles are also used to teach the Bounce Back program.
Kids Hope Mentors
KIDS HOPE is a World Vision mentoring program aimed at developing emotional and social resilience in children, thereby enhancing their capacity to learn. The model is built on a long-term partnership between a local government primary school and a local church. Carefully screened and trained mentors from the partner church meet the children for one hour per week at the school. The results can change lives. To learn more visit the website – http://www.kidshopeaus.org.au/
Student Welfare Coordinator
The Albany Rise Student Welfare Coordinator is vital in responding to the needs of our young people. They are responsible for helping students handle issues such as truancy, bullying, drug use and depression. Our Student Welfare Coordinators will work with other welfare professionals and agencies to address student needs. Our Welfare Coordinator is at Albany Rise on Mondays -Thursdays.
Our student welfare coordinator will:
1. Provide Whole School Support
Primary Prevention – To work closely with school staff, especially the Principal and Assistant Principal to develop a coordinated approach in identify and assisting children and families.
Early Intervention -To develop and implement a range of programs and interventions to meet the needs of the students that focus on social, emotional and education needs.
Intervention – Case managed support with specialised services to at-risk children. When appropriate assist families and children offer referral to appropriate agencies.
Restoring – Providing support to parents and children affected by trauma or crisis situations.
2. Work with teachers and students
- Increase teacher capacity to support the diverse needs of students.
- To provide information and resources to teaching staff
- Provide individual support for at-risk children
- Provide group support for at-risk children
- Managing student referrals
- Work with parents
To provide information and resources to parents
3. Work with the Community
Liaise with external welfare providers
Contribute to the regional and local Primary Welfare Officer Network
Develop community partnerships to draw on external welfare expertise
Student Wellbeing Resources
The Student Wellbeing Office is home to a wide range of resources to assist teachers to support social and emotional learning in their classrooms, as well as promoting positive mental health. Teachers are welcome to borrow the resources or alternatively make a meeting time with the Student Wellbeing Coordinator to discuss available resources and any support required for the whole class, or individual students.