Wellbeing Articles 2015

Character Strengths For The Holidays

Character Strengths for the Holidays!!!


On holiday we are optimistic. We accept what is. We make the best of things.  Therefore, we have a more balanced perspective on life, are less stressed and have healthier interactions with others.



When you think of holidays you think of new adventures. A time when you explore new places, try new activities and make new friends. We are happier because were capture the curiosity of our youth.



One of the main reasons why we feel better when on holiday is that we take the time to recharge our batteries by exercising, eating well, and sleeping more. Satisfying these basic needs is essential to our wellbeing and happiness.


Social Intelligence

While smartphone technology and the internet have allowed work commitments to follow us home, we manage to disconnect from them on holiday rewarding us with more quality family time and much needed personal downtime.


Self Regulation

On holiday we are more present-focused. In general, we spend almost half of our waking hours thinking about something other than what we are doing, which distracts us from the present, the birthplace of happiness.



Gratitude is the queen of happiness. It reminds us about what we have, instead of what we don’t have. We spread it around freely when we are on holiday. We thank people for helping us and in turn, we go out of our way to help others.



Holidays are a wonderful time for reconnecting with family and close friends. Surveys reveal that people with five or more close friends are 60 per cent more likely to be very happy.


I hope you and yours have a very happy and safe holiday over the coming weeks. I look forward to seeing everyone’s smiling faces and hearing all the holiday stories when I see you again next year.         

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on December 3, 2015


Student Wellbeing Team And Peer Mediators

Student Wellbeing Team

The Student Wellbeing team thought you might like to hear about what we have achieved this year.

This year is the first year we have had a wellbeing team, so we were finding our way a bit and perhaps didn’t achieve all we planned. Here are some of the things we did achieve.

* We set up the competition for drawing the snakes for the Snakes and Ladders game, including

advertising at assembly, creating posters and reminding teachers.

* We went through the enormous number of entries, shortlisting and eventually choosing the

winners of the ‘Draw a Snake’ Competition.

* We helped to create the instructions for teachers in regard to making the cards for the Snakes

and Ladders game.

* We looked at the 24 character strengths and chose the twelve we thought were the most

relevant to East Bentleigh Primary and developed a plan for junior, middle and senior levels

for teacher feedback.

* We created a certificate for awards, based on character strengths, to be handed out at


* We created documents with a description of each strength for teacher use.

* We helped in the development and compiling of the Social and Emotional Learning folders

for teachers.

* We helped to create some of the articles for the school


* We helped in replenishing and tidying yard duty folders.

* We researched and printed bullying audits for each level

of the school and are planning to carry these out before the

end of the year.

Another idea we had was to visit younger classrooms and teach them about bullying and other wellbeing issues.

We wish next year’s leaders all the best.  - Oliver K., Louis M., Callie M. and Tara M.

East Bentleigh Snakes and Ladders Game

The Student Wellbeing team will be helping to choose the cards and board comments for the

Snakes and Ladders game. We haven’t yet received any ideas from parents, but we’re still

really hopeful. If you have any ideas for situations, scenarios or strategies for our board

game, please email our teacher - jellis.lee.l@edumail.vic.gov.au


Peer Mediators

As Peer Mediators we are part of the well-being team. This year our duties were to:

* Complete our training booklets to help us know how to deal with small yard problems.

* Take turns at being on duty in the junior school playground so that littlies can come to us if

they can’t sort out an issue.

* Help younger children get to line on time.

* Hand out raffle tickets during recess and lunch to children who are playing nicely, helping

others, speaking kindly, being fair and being co-operative.

* Meet each Monday to discuss any issues or problems.

* Sort the raffle tickets into their correct boxes every week.

* Organise small prizes for the yard raffle.

* Draw the yard raffle at assembly for both prep to year three and year four to year six.

* Give ideas at assembly about the best way to receive a ticket.

We hope next year’s peer mediators have fun and do a good job. Willow L., Annie, Alanna and Grace

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on November 19, 2015


Snakes And Ladders Game

How Exciting!!

Here is a preview of our new East Bentleigh Snakes and Ladders board game. All the snakes were drawn by children, but have been rendered in brown and white. Thank you to our very talented  graphic designer, who has been collaborating with me.

All our classes are busy coming up with ideas for the ‘Treasurebox’ (personal qualities that get you through tough times), the ‘Toolbox’ (strategies you can be taught to manage difficult situations) and for the board itself, (situations that make you move forwards or backwards). Below are some examples from our children.

Tool box

* You said ‘Hi’ and smiled at someone who is not one of your friends. Move forward two places.

* You realise that it is unfair on others to change the rules of a game while you are playing.

Move forward one space.

Tool box

* Instead of getting angry when you didn’t get your way, you did some deep breathing to

calm down. Roll again.

* When someone called you a name, you put a lid on your bucket, walked away and didn’t

worry about it. Go up the nearest ladder.


* Your friend didn’t let you play so you kicked them and walked off. Go back two places

* Someone took your football. You snatched the ball and kicked it in their face. Go down the

nearest ladder.

We’d love some parent ideas as well. Then we’ll be ready to collate our ideas, choose around forty that are different from each other and we’ll be off to the printer, (or nearly).

Please write your ideas down and send them with your child to give to either me, or their class teacher. We’re     aiming for a real community effort, so get those board game thinking caps on; I can’t wait to hear from you!!!

 Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on November 5, 2015


Year 6 Legacy Project / School Outdoor Chess Board

Year Six Legacies have been a tradition at this school for many years. As well as leaving a lasting memento of particular groups of students, it is an opportunity for students to express their gratitude to the school community for all the opportunities they have had.

For our 2015 Year Six Legacy we will be renovating the old paving stone chessboard that was near the hall. Students will design their own mosaic pattern/picture and mosaic the pavers that are still in good condition. These will be laid with the 2014 ‘Friends Garden Seat’ and the ‘Positive Affirmation Signpost,’ to form a new ‘Friendship Space’.

 ‘Bunnings’ has generously donated the adhesive, the grouting and some tiles. If you can help out by donating any unwanted wall tiles (not really thick ones, the old Johnson type tiles are best)you may have lying around it would be much appreciated.

 A big thank you to Leanne Jacobs and the 6L students for the time and effort they have put into creating our new outdoor chessboard and checkers board. These were done as a maths area activity and have been painted on the concrete area between the two main buildings if you haven’t already noticed them. They are not quite complete, but will be ready for use soon, so watch this space.

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on October 22, 2015



 Mental Health Week 2015

Mental Health Week - Mental Health Starts with Me.

Mental Health Week is internationally recognised and it’s this week! The aims of Mental Health Week are to increase everyone’s mental health by encouraging healthy coping behaviours, reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and fostering      positive relationships.

World Mental Health Day is marked every year on the same date, the 10th of October, which is this Saturday. Below are some suggestions adapted from the Better Health Channel, for focusing on the mental health of you and your family this weekend.


Connect with others. The quality of our personal relationships has a great effect on our wellbeing. Putting time and effort into building strong relationships can bring great rewards. Take the family to see someone special you haven’t seen for a while.


Take time to enjoy. Let yourself be spontaneous and creative when the urge takes you. Do a crossword with the kids; go for a walk in the park; read a book together; chop up some old clothes and make a memory quilt; draw pictures with your kids – whatever takes your fancy.


Participate and share interests. Being part of a group of people with a common interest provides a sense of belonging and is good for your mental health. Join a sports club; a band; a walking group; a dance class; a theatre or choir group; or start your own.


Contribute to your community. Help out a neighbor this weekend, work in a community garden or do something nice for a friend. There are many great ways to contribute that can help you feel good about yourself and your place in the world.


Take care of yourself. Be active and eat well. Physical and mental health are closely linked; it’s easier to feel good about life if your body feels good. You don’t have to go to the gym to exercise – gardening, dancing and bushwalking all count. Do         something nourishing together this weekend.


Challenge yourself. Learn a new skill or take on a challenge to meet a goal. This weekend, ask your kids to teach you something they are learning about. Learning improves your mental fitness, while striving to meet your own goals builds skills and confidence and gives you a sense of progress and achievement.


Deal with stress. Be aware of what triggers your stress and how you react. Stress is a part of life and affects people in different ways. It only becomes a problem when it makes you feel uncomfortable or distressed. Do some relaxation activities with the kids this weekend. Try sitting silently for three minutes listening for as many sounds as possible.


Rest and refresh. Get plenty of sleep. Go to bed at a regular time each day and practice good habits to get better sleep. Allow some unfocussed time this weekend to refresh; let your mind wander, daydream or simply watch the clouds go by for a while.


Notice the here and now. Take a moment this weekend to notice each of your senses. Simply ‘be’ in the moment – feel the sun and wind on your face and notice the air you are breathing. Practising mindfulness by focusing your attention on being in the moment is great for your mental health.


Ask for help. This can be as simple as asking a friend to babysit while you have some time out or speaking to your doctor (GP) about where to find a counsellor or community mental health service. None of us have a life completely free from worry and stress. Everyone’s journey has its ups and downs and the people around you can help. If you don’t get the help you need first off, keep asking until you do.


For the grown ups, there are also some excellent television programs on mental health as part of the ABCs ‘Mental As’               programming.


Have a great mental health weekend!!


And the day came where the risk to remain tight in a bud was greater than the risk to bloom. Anais Nin

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on October 8, 2015



Contrary to what we usually believe, the best moments in our lives are not the passive and relaxed times, though these can be really enjoyable, particularly when we have worked hard to earn them. The best moments usually occur when our body or our mind is challenged and stretched to achieve something difficult and worthwhile. Therefore our highest experiences are something we can make happen. For a child it could be placing the final block on the highest tower they have ever built, or   mastering a ball trick previously found difficult.

 Flow is the point when skill and challenge meet. During flow, people typically experience deep enjoyment, creativity and a total involvement with life. Rather than simply left to chance, we can develop this positive state. Having more experiences of flow on a daily basis is strongly connected to our wellbeing and happiness.

 To nurture more flow in your life consider the following ideas:

 * Make a family list of all the daily activities. Each member of the family decides which ones they   are really passionate about.

 * Develop some goals to strive for around your favourite activity. For example if you love basketball, try for 5 baskets in a row (depending on age or skill level, but you get the general drift)

 * If you’re overwhelmed or frustrated, consider reducing the goal. If you’re bored consider increasing the challenge. Remember it’s important, that skill and challenge meet.

  Give each other feedback about how you’re going.

 * Help to prevent distractions like overscheduling: moving from activity to activity makes it hard for children (and us) to become engaged in any one experience. Additionally, parents shouldn’t let their own involvement—even encouragement or guidance—become a distraction.

 * Finally, to enable children to develop their own flow experiences, it’s important they see their parents engrossed in activities. Modeling is the most important way parents teach their kids.

 To all our families and children, have a wonderful break, full of flow, mindfulness and great connections and relationships. Stay very safe and see you all next term.

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on September 17, 2015



Wellbeing in the Classrooms



In our class we all had to think of things that made us happy and then we had to draw a poster with four of our favourite things. Some of the things people drew were being with family and friends, jumping on the trampoline and playing your favourite sport. If you feel sad, or lonely, or anxious you can do some of those things or think about them.

By Maia, Milly and Omkara




Making stress Balls

Stress balls help you when you’re sad or frightened. You use them by squishing them in your hands and it helps by taking your mind off the problem. You can close your eyes, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. We used flour and balloonsBy Amelia and Matthew






Resilience Cards

Resilience cards help you when you are sad or lonely, or when you need cheering up. They have one word or sentence that says       something nice about the person. You pass them around the         classroom and people write nice things about you and when they come back you find written on them all the things people like about you. By Essie





Making Friends

We made Friendship Fish after we read the Rainbow Fish. We had to draw all the things we could think of about being a good friend, but we didn’t have time to fit everything on. When I was sick my little sister     offered me some crackers and that made me feel good, so I think she was being a good friend, even though I had to say no because I was sick. One time one person fell over and she really hurt her knee and her friend got the yard duty teacher and that was also being a good friend, because she helped her. By Freja and Charlotte




With Thanks to Oliver and Louis (6L), Wellbeing Captains who helped put this together.

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on September 3, 2015



Last Friday, Sarah Thurgood and myself attended a professional development run by ‘Peaceful Kids’ on  teaching mindfulness to children. It goes without saying that without developing our own mindfulness practice, we can’t, with any authenticity, teach it to children.

The day was jam-packed with ideas and resources, which will be making their way into our Social and Emotional Learning resource folders. The following is some of what we covered. 


 ‘Focusing on the present moment’ ,‘Being highly aware of present sensations, thoughts and feelings’, ‘Paying attention with flexibility, openness and curiosity’, ‘An awareness process, not a thinking process’. Paying         attention without being “caught up” in your thoughts.

Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness has been scientifically proven to:

     - Decrease stress and anxiety

- Allow connection with the self and values

- Bring a sense of peacefulness and clarity

- Increase self-awareness

- Develop self-acceptance and confidence

- Bring emotional balance and stability

- Decrease worrying thoughts

- Allow compassion and empathy to grow

- Help to view experiences positively

- Decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression

- Improve physical symptoms

- Improve sleep

- Strengthen the immune system

- Dramatically improve concentration and memory


Attitudes of Mindfulness

Acceptance - Accepting what is right now

Non-judging - Just observe what is happening without judgement or wanting to change anything

Patience - It takes time to develop a practice and there is no right or wrong

Beginners Mind - Just noticing, like a child, what your mind is thinking or body is feeling

Trust - Trusting that the experience of meditation will just unfold gently

Non-Striving- Trying not to meditate in a certain way, just allow yourself to be in the present

Letting be / letting go - Just being present without wanting to hold on to positive emotions or get rid of difficult emotions

Kindness and compassion - Practising kindness towards yourself in and out of meditation


Observe your worries like a friendly scientist “Here comes a worry...”,“A worry has arrived...”,“I notice I am worrying...”, “There’s a worrying thought...” “That’s just a worry...”

Riding the waves of emotions

Make peace with each of the waves that life throws you, rather than trying to control how you feel.

Respond with:

• Recognition• Acceptance• Curiosity• Non-judgement

A simple Mindfulness Practise

Guide children to listen and tune in to sounds that are surrounding them.  Just listen to the sounds and notice them without judgement.  See if they can notice a close sound, a far away sound, a loud sound, a quiet sound, a rhythmic sound etc.

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on August 20, 2015



PERMA Model & Healthy Snack Recipes

Earlier this year Maria Shearn and myself attended a professional development that presented an alternative model of wellbeing to the PERMA model developed by Martin Seligman and his colleagues at Pennsylvania University.

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based actions that promote people’s wellbeing.  They are: Connect, Be Active, Take Notice, Keep Learning and Give. These activities are simple things individuals can do in their everyday lives.

These ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing’ were developed by the ‘New Economics Foundation,’ a leading think tank in Britain, and like the PERMA model are based on evidence-based research about mental wellbeing.

It could be argued that the PERMA model: positive feelings, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment, cover all these areas, except one. There is nothing in the PERMA model that speaks of healthy living; being physically active, eating healthily, or maintaining good sleep patterns.

I don’t think anyone would argue that these three areas positively contribute to our wellbeing. Think of how you feel after a bad couple of nights, a few days of junk food, or after hours of sitting on the couch veg’ing out (there are times this last activity definitely has its place, preferably in pyjamas!!)

If we just add an H to the PERMA model we get PERMAH. Doesn’t change how we say it, but adds a whole new dimension to how we can keep our children and ourselves strong and happy.

In the interest of healthy living, this week I have included two great recipes you can make quickly and easily as a healthy treat for the school lunchbox. Make a batch for the week, but I bet they don’t last that long!!!


Hippy Halva


I cup of raw hulled sesame seeds (I just use the everyday variety)

½ cup of pitted dates


Finely dried coconut for coating


Process the sesame seeds into sesame butter in your food processor. It will take several minutes and you may have to stop a few times, but be patient! It will eventually turn into a thick butter. Add the dates (and salt to taste if using) and process until it is a thick dark smooth mixture. Press into a small loaf tin and refrigerate a few hours until set. Cut into squares, roll in coconut and they’re ready to eat.


Chocolate Mousse- (included especially for Sharina)


400ml can of coconut cream

½ cup of raw cacao powder (any cocoa powder works)

¼ cup of rice malt syrup (may have to fiddle with this until it’s to your taste)

¼ cup of chia seeds


Place all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Whisk ingredients together until well combined and smooth. Pour into four to six serving glasses (oh please, I just whack it all into a bowl)

Chill in the fridge for at least three hours or until firm.

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on August 6, 2015



Community Consultation Reporting And Feedback

Community Consultation Reporting and Feedback

 The following is a list of what we, as a school community, have achieved in the area of student wellbeing over the past four years. Thankyou so much to everyone involved in making these goals a reality. Whether you attended a parent information night, gave feedback, filled in a questionnaire, attended your child’s three-way conference, attended festivals and                performances, became involved in a committee, or contributed in any other way to our school culture, you all played a part in the enhancing the wellbeing of the students in our school.

 The following list is quite a long one, however as my children are fond of telling me, no one’s  perfect, so of course there is always room for further improvement.

I would love to hear your suggestions about how we can continue to improve student wellbeing at our school. Please send your suggestions on hardcopy or email to either Maria Shearn or Sue Jackson, titled‘Suggested goals for Wellbeing 2016-2019’

 I really look forward to hearing your ideas.

 What we have achieved…

* Identified / audited the personal learning that we are already doing at EBPS across all year levels

* Teacher reviews indicate personal learning objectives and activities at every year level

* Developed Social and Emotional Learning program incorporating range of material,  activities addressing VELS personal learning objectives

* Creation of SEL foldersfor junior, middle and upper school - incorporating KidsMatter focus areas, * Bounce Back Program activities, Positive Education activities and bullying response resources, including EBPS Safe School Policy

* Regular staff forums for discussion around student wellbeing and positive education

* State grant to fund the creation of a Snakes and Ladders game based on resilience and anti-bullying

* Students in years 4-6 developing personal learning goals

* 3-way conferences conducted between students and parents show casing students’  achievements

* Senior Students Leadership positions engaged in making decisions affecting school activities and curriculum

* New ‘wellbeing’ student leadership team set up to assist in developing wellbeing activities and resources

* Regular articles and suggestions about wellbeing in fortnightly newsletter

* Parent information nights held on restorative practices, positive education and Cybersafety

* Student sessions held on Cybersafety for years 5 and 6

* Students in years 5 and 6 complete VIA strengths test

* Parent engagement policy documented and ratified

* Safe school policy substantially enhanced with parent consultation, documented and  ratified

* School website upgraded with expanded links and user friendly interface


* Communications committee regularly reviewing communications between parents and school

* Enhanced community involvement through Farmer’s Market

* Created documents and processes around the concept ‘Every Day Counts ‘ and ‘Every    Minute Counts,’ promoted throughout the school and discussed at staff meetings

‘Every Day Counts and Every Minute Counts promoted through the newsletter

* A small decrease in absentee data between 2013 and 2014

* Audit of current books / resources and the creation of a centralised resource area for       wellbeing in the BER building

* New ‘well being’ section set up in the Junior Library

* New well being books / resources purchased

* Staff attendance at professional developments on positive education

* Positive education material purchased and read by all staff for both teacher knowledge and classroom use e.g. What is Positive Education? Have You Filled A Bucket Today?

* KidsMatter focus group formed and training for component one completed

* Staff and parent on-line questionnaires completed and aggregated

* Staff professional development part one/component one of KidsMatter training completed

* Participated in a ‘Bullying Research Project’ conducted by University of S.A.


Possible Future Goals

*Teachers to implement personal learning activities in their classes with parents to contribute to the East Bentleigh Snakes and Ladders game

* Completion of Professional development of KidsMatter component one, ‘A Positive SchoolEnvironment’ and the development of an action plan

* Implement component one KidsMatter action plan- a positive school environment

* Commence staff training for KidsMatter component 2

* Continue to provide professional development to teachers and parents around well-being and personal learning

* Ratify Every Day/Minute Counts documents and implement throughout school


Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean - Ryunosuke Satoro

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on July 23, 2015


Wellbeing and Positive Education in Classrooms

Here is a sample of what some classes are doing…


In my classroom we have been learning about bucket filling. The bucket is how happy and how sad you are. It is your feelings. Filling a bucket means making people happier. Dipping into a bucket means making someone feel sad. When you put your lid on your bucket it stops people from dipping into it. To fill someone’s bucket you can help them when they’re feeling sad, by saying, “Do you want to come and play with me?” Or just by giving them a smile. If you hurt someone, or say mean things to that would be dipping.

By Josie


6L have been learning about their own and other peoples’ personal strengths. Personal strengths are positive characteristics that make up your attitude and personality. Everyone’s strengths are different and everyone has all of them, but some are stronger than others. We did a test on-line called the VIA strengths test for children. I t took a while because there were two hundred questions. Some of the strengths it measures were, love of learning, enthusiasm and zest, curiosity and interest in the world, social intelligence and humour and playfulness. We made stars to present our top five strengths.

By Oliver and Louis


In our classroom we have bucket filling books. When someone is nice to us we can give them a bucket filling card and they stick that in their bucket filling book. Some of the nice things people in my class have said to me are, Thank you for letting play and thank you for helping me. If you let somebody play that you have never played with before that fills their bucket a lot. Cheering people up if they are sad is also a good way to fill someone’s bucket. You can tell them a joke or ask them to play with you.

          By Nahar and Sean




We practise mindfulness meditation every Wednesday. We sit in a circle cross-legged and rest our hands gently on our knees. We have to listen and breathe in through our nose and out through our mouth and trust that a stone will come to us. We focus on our breathing and nothing else. We close our eyes or rest them on the floor. Mrs T begins passing the stones and we keep passing until everyone has a stone. Then we focus on the stone, feeling the stone and its texture. We keep the same stone until the next week.

By Jemima and Liya




Here’s wishing everyone a fabulous time over the next two weeks. May all your buckets be filled, may you see strengths everywhere you look and may you experience some quiet reflective time.

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on June 26, 2015



Positive Education Information Night


On Thursday the 14th of May we will be holding our re-scheduled Positive Education information night for parents. This is a repeat of the two positive education sessions we held last year. The second of these sessions will be held in term 3.


Positive Education is a strand of Positive Psychology. It involves the application of well-being science into educational settings, with the aim of creating flourishing students, staff and whole school communities.


Evidence indicates that teaching positive psychology concepts and skills to children can have an enduring and positive influence on their lives. (Seligman et al., 2009).


We will be exploring one of the models developed by positive psychology educators for increasing happiness and wellbeing and completing activities linked to this model.


Last year we had a lot of fun on the night and feedback indicated the information was well received. It would be wonderful to work with another great group of interested and enthusiastic parents. I’d love to see you there.


An RSVP slip is included on the email and the notice sent home, so if you would like to attend, please return this slip to the office by Tuesday the 12th of May of May. We need a minimum of fifteen participants in order to go ahead.







If you can relate to ANY of the following statements, you MUST NOT miss this presentation!


• I want to feel comfortable that my kids are protected when they are online

• I want to understand what my kids are using the internet for

• I am confused about instant messaging, MySpace, Facebook, and chat rooms

• I am concerned about strangers or bullies online

• I want to learn ways to monitor my kids internet use

• I don’t know what 99, LMIRL, and WGP mean


This information evening will be presented by Catherine Gerhardt of Kidproof Melbourne.

Catherine is a sought after expert for both radio and print. Her advice and expert opinion has appeared on both national and international media including Parenting Ideas, Mum’s Lounge, Country Women’s Magazine and Your Child, to name just a few. She has been a guest on radio shows “Making it Happen”, Yarra Valley Radio FM 99.1 and as a speaker has spoken to hundreds of parents, educators and children about how to stay safe.


I urge all parents to attend this important information evening. No matter how young your child may seem now, it may not be long before they are navigating the internet and social media, with or without your knowledge and/or understanding. As a parent you owe it to yourself and your child to be as knowledgeable and as empowered as you can be. This is a great step towards that knowledge and empowerment.

Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on June 26, 2015

Wellbeing-Mental Health


What do we mean when we talk about mental health…?

Mental health is part of our overall sense of wellbeing and includes the positive aspects that create a fulfilling and meaningful life (eg confidence, optimism, persistence). Good Mental health is being able to manage life’s challenges effectively, in ways that enable us to live the life we value.


There a re many things that hinder and help a child’s mental health or wellbeing- these are known as risk factors and protective factors.


Both the risk factors and the protective factors impact a child’s sense of mental health and wellbeing. Risk factors increase the likelihood or risk of a child experiencing a mental health difficulty. Protective factors act to strengthen mental health and wellbeing or improve resistance to risk factors, making a child less likely to develop mental health difficulties.


The good news is, research has shown that even the presence of one protective factor, for a child who may have many identified risk factors, can be enough to protect that child from developing a mental health difficulty.


Teachers had a go at identifying as many possible risk factors and protective factors as they could. The following list is by no means comprehensive. We also discovered that the factors affecting mental health are the same factors that influence learning. Understanding the role the school can play in increasing protective factors will enable teachers to impact on, not just the mental health of the child, but also their learning, therefore, both are our core business!




“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.

"Yes, Piglet?"

"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh



Who can believe that 2015 is just around the corner! For those of you celebrating Holy Days over the next few months, warmest wishes to you, (Chanukah, Christmas, Eid Milad ul-Nabi). To those who may simply be celebrating holidays, best wishes to you also. May every one of you have a safe and happy holiday, full of love laughter and friendship.

 Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on June 26, 2015




It was great to see almost double the amount of parents at this second session, which was also fun, informative and valuable. 


We recapped on the PERMA model of Positive Psychology (Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment) and then explored mindsets and the importance of having growth mindsets, to teach our children that effort and persistence are the keys to learning and to praise them for their efforts rather than just on outcomes.


Then we had some fun with mindfulness, fully engaging our attention in the moment – silently watching food colours disperse in a large vase of water (this was mesmerising and beautiful), listening to all the sounds around us, feeling objects whilst blindfolded, taste testing different brands of chocolate (how awful!) and drawing.  These are things we can do with our children to help them (and us) relax and focus as well as improve their attention control, self-awareness and regulation and sensory processing.


Lastly, we explored the importance of practising Gratitude – a guaranteed mood changer!  We have been writing in our Gratitude diary every evening and it is lovely to hear what the girls are grateful for.


On that note, I am very grateful that this information session was available to us.  We were taught lots of very practical and simple tools to enhance our wellbeing and that of our children and the importance of that in an education context.  I highly recommend it and would do it again!


By Fiona McCrae


It was wonderful to see some new faces at our second session. For those who missed these sessions, they will be repeated early next year for new parents, or anyone else who wants to come along. Why not try this at home. It really is beautiful and when we did it in the mindfulness workshop, the change in atmosphere was immediate and powerful.


Underwater Mindfulness Magic

·         Tall clear glass vessel

·         Food colouring in different colours

·         Glycerine (available at Woolworths in the Medical section)


1.       Fill the vessel with water

2.       Children/adults sit around the vessel in silence

3.       In turn, each person puts several drops of food colouring into the vessel

4.       Watch what happens



“The best way to capture moments is to pay attention. This is how we cultivate mindfulness. Mindfulness means being awake. It means knowing what you are doing.” ― Jon Kabat-Zinn

 Written by East Bentleigh Primary School on June 26, 2015


Wellbeing At EBPS

Last Thursday evening we held the first of two sessions on Positive psychology/education. The aim of these sessions is to give parents an insight into positive psychology/education and how all the elements can be taught, even to very young children. We looked at the benefits of teaching these skills to children and indeed the benefits we ourselves gain from these practices.

We covered the PERMA model- positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment.

We all discussed laughed, joked, shared and listened to each other’s experiences and generally had a great time. Personally it was wonderful getting to learn a little more about our amazing parents.


Below are some thoughts from two of our wonderful attendees.


Tania Ennor

Last Thursday, I spur-of-the-moment decided I would attend Lee's positive psychology talk. There is nothing 'spur-of-the-moment' about this Thursday. For this second session, I am there with bells on. And I'm hauling my Mum along. Also wearing bells.


The stuff Lee had to say immediately resonated. She talked about conscious shifts in communication that seemed practical - even better - achievable! Simple, mostly tiny tweaks, that can so obviously make for big, positive change. Things that seem so obvious in a state of mindfulness yet so easily forgotten.

It makes my heart sing to think that our kids are being taught this stuff. We should all know about this stuff! Practical tools that promote resilience, mindfulness, gratitude for simple joys - and with that, develop a sense of wellbeing. Have you heard about filling buckets? Ask your kids! Read the newsletters! The concept of a bucket that can be filled with feedback of the positive kind, or is dipped into in response to the negative, is a powerful, tangible one. That we could choose to put an imaginary lid on a bucket to preserve its fullness is a notion that has stayed with me all week. 


Catriona Laverty

I attended the Positive Education Parent Workshop part 1. The handouts from the evening have been a great reference. Each day I naturally think of how I could do better in how I parent and how to stay true to my values, though I find that life often get's in the way of this! Lol. The handouts are an easy go-to, to