“BUILDING RESILIENCE IN FAMILIES AND SCHOOLS and CULTIVATING THE WHOLE CHILD”

The Macquarie College approach to social emotional wellbeing

The development of social and emotional competence is essential to success later in life, as children who are socially and emotionally well adjusted perform better at school, have increased confidence, cultivate positive relationships, take on and persist at challenging tasks and communicate well. 

At Macquarie College, we take a holistic approach to learning and believe in cultivating the whole child. As such, we view social emotional development as an integral aspect of both our curriculum and philosophy of teaching and endeavour to foster this learning in all of our students.

There are 5 key skills which constitute good effective social emotional learning;

  1. Self Awareness
  2. Self Management
  3. Social Awareness
  4. Relationships
  5. Decision Making

One way we approach the teaching of these skills is through our FRIENDS for LIFE Programs.

The FRIENDS Programs are Australian developed, internationally recognised Programs aimed at strengthening resilience skills and providing positive life coping strategies for children, families and their wider communities such as the school and work setting.  FRIENDS is endorsed by the World Health Organisation, praised in the 2007 Cochrane Reviews for their solid evidence base and further endorsed in the 2011 Evidence Check Review brokered by the Sax Institute for the New South Wales Ministry of Health. As well as this, the FRIENDS Programs are proven, effective treatment and prevention programs for childhood anxiety and depression. 

The FUN FRIENDS program is a downward extension of the FRIENDS Programs for children aged four to six years, and is aimed at increasing social-emotional competence and resilience in early childhood. 

Both programs emphasise the importance of, and encourage parent and family involvement.  Children, parents, families, teachers, principals and community mental health professionals are empowered through learning the FRIENDS Programs’ skills. These include self-regulation, relaxation, challenging unhelpful thoughts, problem solving skills, creating coping step plans, empathy building, and social skills training. 

As a result, students develop personal and social competence as they learn to understand and manage themselves, their relationships, their lives, work and learning, more effectively. This involves:

  • Recognising and regulating their emotions;
  • Developing concern for an understanding of others;
  • Establishing positive relationships;
  • Making responsible decisions;
  • Working effectively in teams; and
  • Handling challenging situations constructively.

Each of these general capabilities are reinforced and developed through each of the FRIENDS Programs, allowing teachers and students to be the best they can be.

Professor Paula Barrett is the creator and founder of the FRIENDS programs and has worked closely with Macquarie College to foster and support our development of these programs. Below is a short video shot here at Macquarie College during one of her visits.

If you would like more information on Paula, please visit her website: http://paulabarrett.net.au/ or to find out more about the FRIENDS programs or Paula’s clinic and research centre please visit: http://pathwayshrc.com.au/