Transcript of the KidsMatter Primary introductory video



Mary Shannon

Principal Cobdogla Primary School

I always share a classic story of a new student coming to the school

who had come from quite a rough background

and came with a few behavioural issues.

And I remember one day out in the school yard

he was, you know, hurting another child

and a couple of our students

not our upper primary, our middle primary students

actually went up to him and said

“We don’t do that here, we’re a Kids Matter school.”

To me, that’s the biggest impact ever

that this initiative has done

the children actually taking that on.

From there, we’ve now got parents coming into the school again.

You know, we … parents didn’t want to come into the school.

School was for the children, it wasn’t for them.

We’ve got parents coming in now doing cooking.

Doing an exercise class.

You know, they’re here at the school in the garden

with the chickens, all of that.

So the parents have become involved.

Cobby is known throughout the Riverland as a Kids Matter school.

And that’s what everybody says here that works here.

Cobby is a Kids Matter school.

Malcolm Hales

Principal – Rocherlea Primary School

Well, I came to the school in 2006

and it had a reputation for being a pretty challenging

a challenging environment in which to work.

And I knew there had to be a change

to the way that the school was operating

because we had very high suspension rates.

At that stage it was about 40%

which means that in 2005 at least 40% of the children

were being suspended.

And anyone in education would know that that’s not an environment

in which good learning would take place.

And it was highlighted more to me

when I was in the yard one day and a Grade 6 student

told me that – in conversation – and I think I said to them

“Why … what are you doing wandering around in gangs?”

And they said, “Oh, this school sucks.”

“It’s not fun,” you know.

“We don’t do any learning”

and, you know, and “Our community is

you know, our community sucks”

“And we don’t like being at school.”

And I saw this Kids Matter initiative

and it just twigged to my mind

that what this girl had been saying to me

about the school and the community

that maybe Kids Matter might be able to give us

an opportunity to work through a way of changing

what, her view and the view of others.


Kids Matter Primary is an Australian initiative

that aims to improve the mental health and wellbeing

of primary school children.

It 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 areas

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.


What do you think’s happened?

Child 1

When you’re getting bullied.


Is that right?

Give him a clap.

Great acting.


Component three is about schools and families working together

to support children.

Component four is about helping children

with mental health difficulties.

It recognises that schools can’t do this work alone

and that working with families, health and community agencies

will lead to the best outcomes for children.

Sherliyn Vander Vlist

Principal – Leighland Christian School

When we started with Kids Matter Primary

you know, we had a good school already.

Admittedly we did.

But we can all do better as educators.

It’s really important to do the very best you can.

And the 21st century is a rapidly changing world.

So Kids Matter Primary is about

really focusing and zeroing in

on the social and emotional needs

and the relationship with parents and carers

that has to exist to make schooling the very best experience

for our children during those golden years of schooling.

Mary Shannon

Principal - Cobdogla Primary School

When we first talked about Kids Matter

teachers did think of it as a program.

And they thought, “Okay, it’s another thing.”

“We have to do another thing.”

And when it was explained to them

that, “No, it’s not another program.”

“It’s like an umbrella, it’s overarching.”

“It incorporates everything we’re already doing at school.”

You know, where Program Achieve is a program.

Social skills is a program.

Kids Matter encompasses all of that.

So it’s nothing new.

It is purely about an umbrella that overarches

everything we’re already doing in our school.

But it just puts it all in a package.

Associate Professor Helen Cahill

Deputy Director Youth Research Centre and Associate Professor in Student Wellbeing (Graduate School of Education), University of Melbourne

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.

Basically, what it does is provide a conceptual framework

that has schools focus on promotion of wellbeing

prevention of problems

and early intervention for children

who are undergoing distress or challenge.

Professor Beverly Raphael

Psychological Medicine, Australian National University, Population Mental Health and Disaster, University of Western Sydney

We know that children in Australia, as in other parts of the world

have a significant level of mental health problems.

Mental health problems or illnesses or disorders

whichever we like to call them

are common in the community.

We know that one in five adults, at least, has such a problem.

And that in itself may impact on children in the family.

But we also know that children have problems in their own right.

Many things contribute to these problems.

And the statistics for children range from 18% to 33% 

in some studies.

Associate Professor Helen Cahill

Deputy Director Youth Research Centre and Associate Professor in Student Wellbeing (Graduate School of Education), University of Melbourne

If we invest in this as a society we are going to get good outcomes

with reduced patterns of depression and anxiety

and other mental health disorders in our population.

We’re also going to get increased engagement in learning.

When children feel happy, connected, purposeful and optimistic

about their workplace, which is school

and learning, which is their job

then they’re going to achieve better in that domain.

Child 2

Being mentally healthy is knowing

when you don’t have to hold all your sadness and emotions inside

and you can just let it out.

Yeah, is that right?

Child 3

Having good mental health means like you can get the job done

and persist in what you’re doing

without people saying, “Oh, no, you can’t do that.”

And, “You, you’re bad at this,” and everything like that.

So, yeah.

Child 4

Kids Matter helps the future be better with kids

And being mentally healthy and physically healthy for the future.


At a Kids Matter school everyone’s included

in making their school a better place.

Each school forms their own action team

made up of representatives of the whole school community.

Together, they review school policies and practices

across the four components.

Identify strengths and challenges in their school

and plan strategies for improvement.


Action Team Member – Hastings Primary School

We decided about five years ago

That Kids Matter would be not just a program

not just a procedure in our school

but would actually be an ethic that we would all work under.

So our action team have been responsible

for putting all of the strategies and things

that we’ve wanted to do for a very long period of time

to involve all aspects of school

communities,  students, teachers, staff, everyone

to put them together, to work together

for the best outcomes for everyone.

Woman 7

As part of the training, there were some great games

for especially 4, 5, 6.


Kids Matter Primary support all staff with professional learning

which is based on the latest evidence

for what works to support student mental health and wellbeing.

Michael Bourne

Principal – St Marks Fawkner Catholic School

The Kids Matter training allows you to lead the staff

in staff meetings and to attend professional development sessions

so that when it comes to delivering it with the parents

or in the classroom

it makes sense to the teacher.

Kids Matter’s got great pedigree.

It’s support by the Australian Government, Beyond Blue

the Australian Psychological Society and Principles Australia.

It’s important that this pedigree is there

because when we present it to staff

they’ve got to have faith in the framework.

Mary Shannon

Principal Cobdogla Primary School

I think what Kids Matter actually supplies to schools in general

not only teachers but Principals, everybody

is there’s wonderful resources.

That’s what I love about the Kids Matter framework.

They’ve got the online service that you can tap into at any time

with … and you can print resources off.

You can download resources.

And they’re for everybody, for students, for parents, community members.

Michael Bourne

Principal – St Marks Fawkner Catholic School

When Kids Matter is successfully implemented in a school

it’s the equivalent to another six months of achievement by Year 7.

Now, that’s not said lightly.

It’s been researched by Flinders University

so it’s got, it’s pretty firm data

that when you do it right

you’ve improved the children’s academic outcomes by six months.

Professor Phillip Slee

Project Leader, KidsMatter Primary Evaluation

Centre for Analysis of Educational Futures, Flinders University

We selected 100 schools and we collected the data

over a period of two years.

And what we found was that systematically

Kids Matter produced changes.

It had a significant impact on the mental health of the kids involved

and it produced changes around attitudes

toward mental health and wellbeing.

It not only reduced the difficulties so that more kids were feeling better

but it increased the kids’ feelings of resilience and coping

and being positive about the world.

Man 5

A year after we, we had introduced Kids Matter to the community

I knew things had changed

when a student said to me that she’d been in lots of schools

and her Mum said that this was the best school she’d been in

because the school listened to the children and their problems

and they just didn’t pass them off.

And I knew things had changed when at the end of the second year

I didn’t have any teachers who wanted to transfer out.

And I knew things had certainly changed when I had parents

coming to speak to me in calm, respectful ways

rather than in ways that, you know, that we saw as being inappropriate and challenging

and in-your-face type discussions.

Bernette – Parent

Leighland Christian School

And it’s really important as a parent

to know that the school doesn’t concentrate just on the academics.

That they’re prepared and know the avenues to go through

to help with other issues.

It’s helped my family as a whole

to get through certain situations with my children.

And to know that I can come to the school and speak to them

About things other than just academics, it’s amazing, yeah.

Marion – Parent

Leighland Christian School

Children don’t just come to school to sit in a classroom

and do academic things.

And if their mental health is not

you know, if they’re not healthy mentally or emotionally

those things that you’re trying to get them to do

are not going to work anyway.

You know, like you can’t expect a child to learn

if they’re in a place of unresolved grief or hurting or sad that day.

How can you expect them to suddenly switch on their brain

and go, “Oh, I’m ready to learn, you know

maths, or this, or whatever.”

So that’s why I think it’s not just important, it’s actually essential

to, for schools to be working on the mental health of children

to be supporting the mental health of children.

You might as well not bother doing anything unless that’s right first

in my opinion.

Professor Beverly Raphael

Psychological Medicine, Australian National University, Population Mental Health and Disaster, University of Western Sydney

I think Kids Matter has brought to the national agenda

the mental health and wellbeing of children.

It’s brought it to the national agenda

because many of us have been passionate and concerned

about this for a long time.

But, because children are part of a family and seen …

their behaviour and the things that happen in their lives

are seen as totally in the family

Only in the schools if there’s a difficulty

we haven’t really owned that this is something important

to the whole of the world.

It’s important in this country and other countries

because it’s the future.

Sherliyn Vander Vlist

Principal – Leighland Christian School

My recommendation for all Principals

is not to see this as, “Oh, another thing.”

But to, in fact, go, “Aha, this is the thing”

in terms of, look, it’s so flexible

it gives you a framework that you can actually move through

at your own pace

but it actually addresses the key areas that make your school better

and make it a great place for your staff

and a great way for you as Principal

to have control over what’s happening in those four key areas.

Phil – Teacher

Leighland Christian School

Most people would not remember a lesson taught at school

but they will remember a teacher

who sewed something into their lives

and saw something

probably not what they were, but what they could become.

And so that only comes from knowing the students.

Knowing where they’re at.

Knowing the sports they play.

Knowing the battles they’re facing

and the situations they’re up against.

And, honestly, that’s where we’ve got to be at.

Child 5

I’m going to Year 7 next year.

I just don’t want to leave St Marks.

Yeah, I’m going to miss it, you know, a lot.

Like, out of all the seven schools I’ve been to

I think this one’s my favourite one

‘cause like, not only did it include me, but it included my Mum as well.

And I think that’s really important to me

‘cause, like, I really love my Mum.

Mary Shannon

Principal Cobdogla Primary School

All I can say is, you know

if people are still thinking about it

at least have a look at it.

Have a look at the website.

Have a look at all the wonderful resources

and the people that are involved.

Talk to different schools, different Principals

that are Kids Matter schools.

And listen to the stories.

There are so many stories out there of what people are doing.

You’re not alone, and it’s about sharing.

That’s what I think is the most important thing.

Schools, sometimes we shut our doors

and we say, “Oh, we have to deal with it ourselves.”

With Kids Matter, no way. 

You just, you share, you listen, you learn

and that’s what Kids Matter is about.


To find out more about Kids Matter