In the last newsletter article we asked you to consider what mental health means to you.
Perhaps many of you began with a deficit model, but quickly realised mental health is really about mental fitness and wellbeing. Like physical health, mental health is something we all have and it can range from good to poor and can change over time. Good mental health helps us form positive relationships with others, handle ups and downs, and generally enjoy life. With good mental health, children can feel confident and be more open to trying and learning new things.
‘Kids Matter Primary’ is an Australian initiative that aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing of primary school children. East Bentleigh Primary School is currently in the process of becoming a ‘Kids Matter’ school. Kids Matter has got great pedigree; it’s supported by the Australian Government, Beyond Blue, The Australian Psychological Society and Principals Australia.
The ‘Kids Matter’ initiative provides proven methods, tools and support to help schools, families and the wider community nurture happy balanced kids. ‘Kids Matter’ schools begin with a two to three year journey to support students’ mental health and wellbeing.
There are four key area core components that schools focus on.
- Component One is about promoting a school community that’s positive and inclusive of all members.
- Component Two looks at the best ways of teaching social and emotional skills to all students.
- Component Three is about schools and families working together to support children.
- Component Four is about helping children with mental health difficulties.
“Kids Matter is a really useful conceptual framework to help schools do better at the things they care about doing in the first place, which is optimizing children’s learning and their wellbeing.”
Associate Professor Helen Cahill
Deputy Director Youth Research Centre and Associate Professor in Student Wellbeing
(Graduate School of Education), University of Melbourne
‘Kids Matter’ schools recognise they can’t do this work alone and that working with families, health and community agencies will lead to the best outcomes for children.
To help us get started we need to collect some baseline data about our school. ‘Kids Matter’ has provided a parent survey to help us do this. We really need you to do this on-line so that ‘Kids Matter’ can aggregate the data for us.
Next week at teacher interviews we will be providing you with a link to enable you to participate. It will take approximately ten minutes of your time and will provide us with valuable information to help us begin our Kids Matter journey.
For more information about the Kids Matter initiative, please visit the Kids Matter website at www.kidsmatter.edu.au
Lee Jellis - Student Wellbeing Coordinator