At St Peter’s Primary School we recognise the importance of
celebrating the amazing work that our Peer Support Leaders do.
At the conclusion of each Peer Support session, supervising
teachers nominate outstanding Peer Support Leaders. These students are
celebrated during de-briefing of that session.
We recognise the hard work of all Peer Support Leaders at
the end of Peer Support every year. Supervising teachers plan a range of
celebration activities that are linked to the focus of our Peer Support module.
Students participate in these activities in their Peer Support groups. Our
celebration activities in 2019 highlighted the importance of making connections
with, and caring for, those around us. Our celebration activities this year
linked learning from the “Stronger Together” module with national R U Ok? Day.
Celebration activities included board games, paired drawing activities and making stress balls.
We are delighted to announce our new Vice Regal Patron, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Retd). We were invited to the Government House Open Day last week on 12 October, to celebrate the start of David Hurley’s term as Governor General. Families and children had a terrific time on the jumping castle we brought. You can see more pictures of the day on our social media.
Peer Support Australia had the privilege of being one of
the few organisations to join the 88 young delegates to the NSW Youth Drought
Summit organised by the NSW Ministry of Health and UNICEF Australia.
We heard first hand from young people their hopes and
struggles described with passion, frustration and even anger as they live with
the impact of severe drought in their homes and local communities. Innovative
and creative solutions were canvassed. It was a fine example of student
voice in action.
Peer Support Australia has been invited to work with many NSW drought affected school communities and more details will be shared shortly. We will be inviting schools from metro, regional and rural areas to join with us in this initiative and will be announcing a new peer-led approach to support our regional and rural friends across drought affected Australian communities.
Kacey Constantine, the Principal of Magnetic Island State School, Queensland, understands that “relationships come first” with the students and staff at her school. Situated off the coast of Townsville, Magnetic Island State School has a population of 160 students and its Learning and Wellbeing framework is designed with relationships at its heart.
Peer Support was introduced at the school 20 years ago by Year 6 teacher Martin Hammelswang, and the ongoing significant benefits are clear to see. Kacey describes the overall feeling of the school as one of “calm”, and indeed when walking around the school you cannot help but feel the sense of connectedness and calm that permeates the active learning environment. Over the years that Peer Support has been running, a broad range of social and emotional learning skills have been embedded into everyday activities at the school. Making relationships central to all that the school does has meant that the Peer Support Program is used as a key part of the organising framework for Magnetic Island State School. The focus on wellbeing and building positive, enabling relationships has been a vital element of school improvement. Peer Support and Positive Behaviour for Learning operate side by side to build, as the school calls it, a Positive Culture for Learning. The importance of wellbeing for learning is well documented by research: students learn best when they feel safe, happy, and have a positive sense of self and a sense of belonging.
The organising framework (above) which Magnetic Island State School has developed identifies the key strategies and guidelines impacting the work of the school, and how relationships are supported by these and also permeate the community. It’s a great example of how schools can develop and express coherence across various initiatives to better focus efforts and hence create synergy.
Whether your students are graduating from primary or secondary school, the last days of the school year can be exciting, emotional and a cause for celebration. It’s a special time to support your students’ wellbeing, encouraging them to reflect on their learning, celebrate their achievements and the connections made across your school community.
We would love to hear how you plan to celebrate this term. Here are some ideas.
Supporting Students During Celebration & Holiday Time
Parents and educators have different concerns for young people as they move into the holiday season. There are many useful, age and context specific resources available for them to share with each other to help promote safe behaviour, whether it be celebrating or engaging in daily pedestrian activity. Students, parents and teachers may find partying advice and information such as this (click here) helpful at this time of year.
Students, teachers and parents can find lots of effective activities and advice about road safety, particularly during holiday time, by using this resource: https://www.safetytown.com.au/
Celebrating involves much more than party poppers and cake! It’s also about recognising and affirming achievements. The joy and gratitude that this creates adds depth to the wonderful spirit that the year’s end can bring. Reflecting meaningfully on these experiences can have a positive impact on the efficacy of learning.
This is part of the reason why the debriefing process is so integral to the Peer Support Program. The Peer Support Program provides opportunities for students to reflect on and celebrate their participation and achievements which we see as integral to the Program’s effectiveness. In doing so, the Program has strong links to the Australian Curriculum’s General Capabilities, such as the Personal and Social Capability elements.
The Personal and Social Capability element of self-awareness involves students reflecting on and evaluating their learning and recognising personal qualities and achievements. Creating opportunities to identify and celebrate the year’s learning across a range of areas can be a powerful way to build positively on students’ self-awareness.
Likewise, school communities can benefit from the process of evaluation and celebration, in terms of both the learning and the valued, trusting relationships that this can create. The Program materials include evaluation surveys which can be used to gather feedback on the Peer Support Program, inform planning for next year, and generate affirmations. Coordinating Teachers can contact their Wellbeing Education Consultant to gain access to these.
The Peer Support Program is a student led initiative that neatly supports the bullying prevention strategy.
Based on research
and consultation, the strategy is underpinned by the knowledge that rather than
being a problem of individuals, bullying is a social and relational concern.
“Bullying is more likely to occur where the relationships are weakened between a
child and their family, their peers, family friends and community members.
Bullying may also be more likely where a child is less involved in social
groups, activities and networks.” (p.13)
relationships are enabled by positive social connections within inclusive,
informed communities of active and engaged individuals.
The Peer Support
Program is a whole school community approach which provides students with
skills to improve problem solving, conflict resolution and resilience. Working
collaboratively in a Peer Support group gives young people an experience of
positive and inclusive community, where respectful behaviour is modelled by
peers, and relationships are strengthened.
materials have focuses on bullying prevention, positive relationships,
optimism, resilience, values and leadership.
There are Peer
Support Program Implementation Workshops for teachers scheduled in North
Adelaide on Thursday 14 November 2019, and at other venues in South Australia
on Wednesday 6 May 2020 and Tuesday 27 October 2020. Workshops are one of the
keys to involvement in the Program.