Positive Education is a core part of our culture here at St Andrew’s. Under the leadership of our Director of Positive Education, St Andrew’s is now a leading school having invested time and resources in ensuring every member of staff has been trained in Positive Psychology, and as we embed these practices within our curriculum and across our community.
Positive Education brings together the science of Positive Psychology with best practice teaching to encourage and support individuals, schools and communities to flourish. We refer to flourishing as a combination of ‘feeling good and doing good’. Positive Education focuses on specific skills that assist students to strengthen their relationships, build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, promote mindfulness, and encourage a healthy lifestyle.
In its most basic essence, our Positive Education Model can be thought of as a road map of what people want for themselves, their students and their children: good health, frequent positive emotions, supportive relationships, a sense of purpose and meaning, the accomplishment of worthwhile goals, and moments of complete immersion and absorption—a life where a person uses their character strengths in ways that support the self and others, and that has flourishing at the heart.
Our Positive Education Model Comprises Six Wellbeing Domains:
The Positive Relationships domain explores the importance of connectedness and strong relationships for wellbeing. The focus is on helping students to develop social and emotional skills that nourish their relationships with the self and others. At St Andrew's Anglican College, this domain builds on the strong school community and culture of respect. In particular, there is profound effort directed towards creating a School community based on kindness and forgiveness.
The Positive Emotion domain aims to enable students and staff to develop a stronger understanding of their emotions and those of others. Our focus is to create opportunities for our school community to experience and savour positive emotions such as joy, love, gratitude and contentment. We endeavour for all staff and students to be able to initiate, experience, prolong, and build positive emotions in their lives.
The Positive Health domain focuses on supporting students and staff to develop sustainable habits for optimal physical and psychological health. With the inextricable link between physical and psychological health, we know that practising mindfulness and resilience techniques will promote greater health outcomes. Mindfulness and resilience are also supported by the quest to help students to develop broader healthy behaviours in terms of exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
The Positive Engagement domain helps students and staff to experience complete immersion in activities through understanding the nature of engagement, the pathways to it, and the impact it has on individual wellbeing. The aim is for all members of the School community to find sources of interest and passion in their lives.
Positive Accomplishment aims to develop individual potential through striving for and achieving meaningful outcomes. It encompasses helping students to learn and achieve academically as well as enabling both students and staff to strive for goals that are both highly rewarding to the self and of benefit to the wider community. The goal is to support all members of the School community to embrace challenges with grit, determination, hope, and a willingness to learn from their experiences.
The Positive Purpose domain explores understanding, believing in, and serving something greater than the self and deliberately engaging in activities for the benefit of others. It encourages students and staff to draw on their character strengths in ways that contribute to the welfare of others and the wider community. It also recognises that belonging to a supportive school community is a strong pathway to purpose and to wellbeing.
Character Strengths are natural capacities or ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that come easily to a person and that are morally valued. According to a strengths approach, each individual has unique qualities that can be used to enhance wellbeing, overcome challenges, and nurture relationships. Strengths are important pathways to flourishing across the six domains of the model of Positive Education. Students who use their strengths have been found to demonstrate strong academic performance supporting their importance for student accomplishment.