Yarra Valley Grammar builds resilience across the school community

Yarra Valley Grammar Principal Dr Mark Merry explains the school’s partnership with The Resilience Project.

Every good school wants to look after the young people in our care but at Yarra Valley Grammar we believe that we needed a targeted, deliberate and progressive program to build resilience. We want to help our young people navigate their way through school, whether it’s dealing with new technologies or online bullying or the rigours of VCE.

The statistics regarding mental health amongst children and adolescents is concerning:

  • One in four adolescents have a mental illness
  • One in seven primary school students have a mental illness
  • 65 per cent of adolescents do not seek help for mental illness

So this year we have partnered with The Resilience Project, a Melbourne-based organisation that helps schools, sports clubs and businesses incorporate mental-health and wellbeing education into their communities. As we were putting it together, we realised that our parents and friends were actually crying out for more in the area of mindfulness and positive psychology.

The new wellbeing framework has been developed by The Resilience Project to provide evidence based, practical strategies to build resilience. The key areas that will be explored and developed are Gratitude, Mindfulness, Emotional Literacy and Empathy.

There are curriculum changes, programs and presentations by The Resilience Project for all students; Early Learning to Year 12, as well as for our staff, parents and Old Grammarians. Our junior and secondary school students will be asked to keep journals as a place for them to record their thoughts, feelings and to reflect on their experiences. We will also maintain an individual wellbeing and resilience assessment that will track their progress over time.

Just as we teach a young person to count, read and write, we need to teach young people interpersonal skills and techniques to navigate through life positively. We see this as part of the school’s mission to nurture and educate the children in our care.

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