Vincentia High School

Learning For Life

Telephone02 4441 6766

Emailvincentia-h.school@det.nsw.edu.au

Wellbeing Cottage

Harmony sign

Vincentia High leads the way in Wellbeing!

Tuesday 30 May 2017 was the official opening of our recently refurbished Wellbeing Cottage and launch for the extension of our Wellbeing Program. All staff attended the opening, which included a tour of the room with a variety of activities on display. We were lucky enough to have Kaitlyn Middleton, Community Engagement Officer from Headspace in attendance to meet our staff and provide valuable resources to use in the cottage. Our partnership with Headspace is a valuable one so we really appreciate their attendance at the opening.  The opening concluded with a delicious afternoon tea catered by Miss Kylieanne Codey and her Confusion Café students.

At the end of 2016 Ali Taylor (Youth Outreach & Wellbeing Officer) approached Steve Glenday (Principal) with an idea to create a calm and tranquil space for students to attend in times of need and one specific place for the many wellbeing and mindfulness programs available to our students. Many schools in the US and some schools in Australia now have mindfulness spaces for students to learn and are guided through a practice of mindfulness and meditation, which has proven to be of great benefit.  Research shows that happy kids learn and when young people's mental health is out of balance or they are experiencing times of difficulty, it is very hard for them to engage, connect and learn. Our aim and purpose is to have a space for students to visit when feelings of distress arise and they are unable to engage in the classroom. By providing them with a safe space,  it helps students to feel a sense of calmness and clarity in order to re-enter the classroom sooner and with enhanced focus as well as some tools to help them next time this emotions begin to arise. The Wellbeing Cottage is run by the Wellbeing Team supported by teachers that volunteer their time.

When students attend the cottage they are learning and practising practical and valuable strategies to calm and self- regulate under the guidance and supervision of staff trained in mindfulness. One of the underpinning guidelines used in the cottage is The Thriving Adolescent, which offers powerful techniques based in acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and positive psychology to help adolescents manage emotions, connect with their values, utilize mindfulness, and develop healthy relationships.  For more information go to.  http://thrivingadolescent.com/adolescent-resources/thriving-adolescent-book-downloads/

The VHS Wellbeing Cottage is open 4 days per week, offering a range of programs such as;

  • The DRUMBEATS Program which is a social and emotional program encouraging connection, harmony, team building, better relationships and stronger resilience through the rhythm of the drums.  Music in its self is known as a good way to calm the nervous system and rest the mind helping to recharge so this program is quite therapeutic
  • Optional meditation and various mindfulness activities for all Year groups
  • Yoga during sport for Years 7-12
  • Back to Class (B2C) program for return from suspension students
  • Introductory sessions for students in years 7-9, designed to introduce our fabulous new space, along with the foundations of the Thriving Adolescents Program and give students a taste of the mindfulness activities we have on offer

To attend the wellbeing cottage students must have a referral and permission from their classroom teacher, their Stage DP or Year Advisor. Once a student has calmed and feels happy enough they are supported back into their classroom environment.   The cottage is also a positive way of helping students that require ongoing support with positive mental health and wellbeing. The cottage staff act as a triage, communicating with appropriate staff and community services to make sure the young person gets the ongoing support they require.

Overall, the response from students and staff has been extremely positive, with one student telling her friends that the cottage is so Zen and has an amazingly calming effect. Staff have noticed less distraction in and around their classrooms and feel content that students have a safe and peaceful place to go for support. Staff even like to attend the cottage when possible to soak up the Zen, recharge the batteries and head back out into their classroom.

 

 

Gratitude Tree