Teachers, parents and students at Youngtown Primary School had a lesson in resilience this week in an effort to improve student relationships, learning capabilities and well-being.
Educational consultant, John Hendry OAM from Geelong Grammer, conducted sessions focused on forgiveness, hope, integrity, compassion and trust, to help the school develop their strategy towards empowerment measures.
On Thursday Mr Hendry wrapped up the three-day program and said it is very much focused on addressing the common mismanagement of issues associated with bullying.
He said that the response received by the staff and students had been fantastic.
“The kids understand the reason I am doing this and the response has been unbelievably positive,” he said.
“Bullying is not new to the world.
“It is all about power.
“It can happen in schools, on the sports ground, at work.
“What we are doing here is focusing on the elements and how they can recognise it.”
A teacher with 47-years experience, Mr Hendry has travelled all over the world assisting schools with resilience development.
Youngtown grade three-four teacher Tim Vanwinden said Mr Hendry’s insights had been fascinating and the opportunity to get him to present at the school was only made possible by a $5,000 grant.
“Resilience is something that we as a school have worked on for some time,” he said.
“We really wanted to get someone in and address the whole school community together.
“There is not a really good understanding of what bullying is.
“Quite often teachers have a different idea than parents at home.
“We wanted to work a holistic approach to the issue and I think as teachers it has really challenged our way of thinking and the different ways we approach things.
“I talked to a number of parents after their session and they said they were really excited to have something to take and reinforce at home.”
Mr Vanwinden said that the school’s decision to reach out to Mr Hendry came from their participation in the Resilient Youth Australia survey, which provides data to more than 800 schools across Australia.
“The students take the survey, which provides some really valuable insight,” he said.
“This year we identified relationships as something that we really needed to focus on.”
Youngtown has been working with Resilient Youth since 2013, with data showing an 18 percent increase in the total number of students feeling valued and appreciated by others.