For Elanora State Primary School, promoting the mental health and wellbeing of the whole-school community is as important as improving the academic learning of its students. The school has fully embedded KidsMatter Primary in its strategic direction and was given recognition for its achievements in improving the social and emotional wellbeing in its whole-school community.
Elanora State Primary School started implementing KidsMatter Primary in 2012. Student Wellbeing Coordinator and Action Team Leader Karen Greenwood said that the framework’s four components have helped them implement a data-informed plan for embedding mental health and wellbeing in the school’s curriculum and strategy.
“Prior to joining KidsMatter Primary, the development of children's social and emotional skills was supported incidentally by our class teachers through informal and incidental discussion. We also had concerns that as a school we could be doing more to create and encourage a sense of community and belonging,” she said. Through KidsMatter Primary, Elanora State Primary School has streamlined these activities into a single plan.
To encourage wider engagement from parents and carers, the school has assigned representatives from each classroom to regularly share information from their group to the school and vice versa. Parents and carers are also included in professional development and gatherings that promote wellbeing and inclusiveness.
In addition, Elanora State Primary School has assigned fulltime Student Wellbeing Teachers and a School Chaplain to support the social and emotional wellbeing of its students and provide counselling, if necessary, to children and their families. The school’s Administration Staff, Guidance Officer, Chaplain and Student Wellbeing Teacher provide one-on-one support to students who are experiencing social and emotional difficulties and liaise closely with parents and carers. Moreover, inclusion classes are provided to help students with special needs.
In 2014, Elanora State Primary School underwent a Discipline Audit and was commended for embedding a strong culture that promotes learning. School staff members were lauded for “working hard to build positive partnerships with parents and carers to promote student learning” and for their commitment in maintaining “a learning environment that is safe, respectful, tolerant, inclusive and that promotes intellectual rigour.”
Principals Australia Institute (PAI) has supported Elanora State Primary School to implement the framework since 2012. Paul Geyer, PAI’s Chief Executive Officer, congratulated the school leadership for its exemplary achievements. “The social and emotional skills that the school’s students demonstrate; the outstanding engagement with external support services to provide students with the help they need, when they need it; and the genuine representation of the school’s diversity in the implementation process clearly shows its outstanding implementation of the KidsMatter Primary Framework. PAI is delighted to have supported Elanora Primary State School to implement such an important health and wellbeing framework.”