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Wellbeing Update – Term 1 2024

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Dear Preshil Community,

Term 1 has fully embraced our theme of connection and belonging through a plethora of activities that have strengthened our sense of community. From student camps, debating competitions and sporting activities to whole school celebration of values, birthdays and awareness days to ‘Back to School’ and ‘Family Picnic’ events, the collective effort of our school community has been truly inspiring.

As we bid farewell to Term 1 and look forward to Term 2, I would love an opportunity to reflect on wellbeing accomplishments across our student community during these past few months.

MYP Wellbeing Wednesdays: Term 1 marked the commencement of a new weekly wellbeing program delivered in homeroom. Throughout the term, students have engaged with a range of discussions and stimuli pertaining to the themes of connection and belonging. Across the MYP, students have explored the meaning of personal values, including their own, and have critically examined the difference between belonging and fitting in, addressing concepts such as mob mentality and when this can serve as an antithesis to authentic identity development.
DP Wellbeing Support: As DP students do not engage with a daily homeroom, students across the Program were asked to self-report on a wellbeing theme they deemed important for delivery during their Forum time. In response to this reporting, I facilitated a session on ‘Organisation and Time Management’ whereby 92% of students requested support in this area. A key question posed was around the 1% difference they would like to make to their study habits. I encourage you to watch the video that we used to lead this discussion below, as well as an excellent book in this area by James Clear, called ‘Atomic Habits’.

Whole School EiPulse: Term 1 has seen 86% of students connect in with their wellbeing using our new check in platform, with 2% of check-ins being used to seek specific support. One of the most wonderful features of eiPulse is the invitation to express gratitude. This term, we have seen a whopping 538 expressions of gratitude from our students, with students being the most grateful for the kindness demonstrated by a peer or staff member, and personally most grateful for their family and friends. Students in the Student Representative Council identified this as one of their favourite features of the platform, which confirms all the research coming out of positive psychology where gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness and improved relationships.

eiPulse asks students 5 anonymous questions to measure a wellbeing aggregate across 6 domains: valued and safe, healthy, material basics, learning, participating and a positive sense of identity and culture. Across the term, wellbeing peaked in the areas of feeling ‘valued and safe’ as well as their access to ‘material basics and necessities’. As we move into Term 2, we will start exploring and understanding areas where students have reported lower scores, such as in the domain of a ‘positive sense of school identity’ in relation to their meeting of learning expectations and their levels of resilience and emotional health in the ‘healthy domain’. Watch this space!

In alignment with our theme of connection, Term 1 saw 30 families across Primary and Secondary come together to attend our popular seminar, ‘Understanding Teens. Empowering Families’ which was a fantastic turn out on what became an incredibly stormy night!

To deepen the learning from this event, we are privileged to be able to offer an opportunity for our families to register for the universal parenting program, Tuning in to Teens (TINT) at a reduced rate. The program builds on our seminar by aiming to increase parent-child connection; providing parents with a greater understanding of their teen’s developmental and emotional experiences while teaching specific skills that can assist in staying connected with your young person. The program also helps parents to look inward to consider how they experienced emotions as a child and the way that this influences their parenting. TINT consists of 6 x 2-hour workshops lead by experienced facilitators where you will learn about yourself, your teen and hear from other parents who are experiencing similar challenges to yourself. The program was developed at the University of Melbourne and is recognised world-wide. Usual cost is $275 per person or $475 for two caregivers attending together. Relationships Australia Victoria in Kew will be offering Preshil parents a reduced price of $150 per person to attend. Please register your interest HERE.

Each term, I will be providing my TOP THREE resource recommendations based on the term’s wellbeing theme. Please see below for my top three in relation to the theme of ‘connection and belonging’ in Term 1 –

‘Helping Kids Find Their Tribe’ – Dr Justin Coulson, The Happy Families Podcast. Listen here (10 minutes) to support your young person to find meaningful connections this year. You can find this theme explored in greater depth in our SchoolTV Edition, ‘Friendship and Belonging’ HERE.

Dr Lisa Damour, a clinical psychologist and author who specialises in adolescence, talks about building connection with teenagers and how this might look different in comparison to the childhood years. She draws on the
importance of holding an ‘agendaless presence’. Find out more from her 30 second Instagram video here.

‘Can I talk to you? How to be one the one they come to when things feel big?’ is an incredibly insightful article written by Karen Young, a psychologist, consultant, and author who has worked extensively with adolescents and specialises in anxiety. I highly recommend her website, Hey Sigmund, which is a comprehensive showcase of her research and resources.

In closing, I want to express our gratitude to everyone who has contributed to making Term 1 a successful term of transition – students, parents, educators, and staff. Your dedication, hard work, and unwavering support are the driving forces behind our strong sense of connection and belonging at Preshil and I see the sense of pride that students hold in their school community. Have a relaxing and restorative break and please don’t hesitate to get in touch should you want to have a conversation about the wellbeing needs of your young person.

Warm regards,

Natalie Kisilevich
Student Wellbeing Leader
Office houses: Monday – Friday, 8:30am – 4:30pm

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