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Education Consultant Miranda McCallum visited Coburg Primary School in Victoria in Term 1 this year to participate in a planning meeting with the school’s Principal Helen Zull, PE teacher Lynne Evans and Head of Welfare Joy Freier.
The meeting resolved that the next Peer Support module to be implemented would be “Promoting Harmony”, the Values module. This follows on from the previous year’s theme which was “Keeping Friends”, the Relationships module. There are a total of five Primary resource modules available, including the Anti-bullying module which is available from the second year of implementation.
The meeting also discussed the possibility of contacting other local primary schools so that collaboration can take place. This is certainly something that all schools find useful when implementing the program.
One of the challenges raised was the impact of a growing school population which meant there were a large number of Prep (Kindy) kids to accommodate in Peer Support groups. This makes the job of Peer Leaders all the more challenging. As a result of this and other factors, the school has extended the Peer Support sessions from 30 minutes to 45 minutes, giving them more time to spend on the activities.
Prinicipal Helen Zull also recounted a story about what she witnessed during the school’s first ever Peer Support Session. A student who had on many occasions graced her office for behavioural reasons, was now in charge of 10 younger students. She was amazed at the repertoire of behavior management techniques this young man employed to keep his group engaged and on task. Many of these techniques had been used with him in the past, to varying degrees of success perhaps!
The young man is now flourishing in his new role as a Peer Leader in The Peer Support Program and teachers may even report a shift in is classroom behaviour as time goes by.