In 2020, Preshil committed to training all staff in the Berry Street Education Model (BSEM), a model of reflective practice in which teachers are encouraged to create inclusive and nurturing classroom spaces in which children and students can be ‘ready to learn’. The five domains of the BSEM encourage teachers to develop an awareness of how the strategies within the model encourage security, growth and learning. They are: Body, Relationship, Stamina, Engagement and Character.
In the Body session, staff were guided through a number of experiences to unpack the physiology of regulation, signs of stress and self-regulation, escalation and de-escalation and how to prime students to be ready to learn. We all practised ‘brain breaks’ those mini activities which can switch up the energy in the classroom to support continued engagement.
On Monday, the whole school staff undertook day two; Relationship, with facilitator Kaine Volkov. Kaine was issued with a copy of Preshil’s Courage document, and was immediately drawn to, and shared, the quote contained within its Relationships chapter:
“You don’t have to like everyone but you have to love them” – Margaret E. Lyttle
This led into discussions and activities to support staff in reflecting on their current practice, noticing and naming some of the ways in which they are already supporting and developing relationships with their students, and considering new strategies to implement.
The session looked at theories of attachment and attunement, moved into the central thesis of the Relationship domain; unconditional positive regard; the maintaining a vision of others’ wholeness and looked at power in relationships. A wonderful quote was shared from Carl Rogers:
“How can I provide a relationship which this person may use for their own personal growth?”
As a school which puts relationships at the centre of our practice, this session was affirming for our staff, and reignited our sense of purpose and mission. We can now look forward to the next session in which we’ll explore both stamina and engagement for learning, and how to support our students to make the most of each learning opportunity, each provocation for inquiry, each interaction.