Small group wellbeing programs allow students to learn new social and emotional skills that can help improve their wellbeing and mental health. Small group programs have many benefits, including:
- Students can understand that they are not alone in the challenges they are facing
- Students can make new social connections with students with similar experiences to themselves.
- Students learn about their emotions and how to manage them in healthy ways.
- Students learn the benefits of asking for help.
- Students learn specific social and emotional skills relevant to their needs.
Seasons for Growth
Change and loss are a normal part of life, but that doesn't mean that these experiences are easy to cope with, particularly for young people. Seasons for Growth aims to strengthen the social and emotional wellbeing of young people who are dealing with significant life changes by:
- Exploring the impact of the change and loss on everyday life.
- Learning new ways to respond to these changes.
Seasons for Growth is an 8-week, interactive program, with one session per week. Reasons that a young person may participate in Seasons for Growth are broad. They can include the death of a loved one, separation of parents, re-partnering of parents and blending of families, change in carer arrangements, moving school/home, change in peer groups, injury resulting in a change of hobbies or the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information about Seasons for Growth, visit the Good Grief website.
We do not recommend this program for students experiencing a very recent loss. Instead, those young people engage with the program once they are at least 6 months (or so) post-loss.
Understanding our emotions is an essential part of developing healthy self-regulation skills. Young people experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety can benefit significantly from an increased understanding of the impact their emotions and thoughts have on their wellbeing.
Feeling Fantastic is a 5-week program (one session per week) designed to help students understand the impact of their thoughts and emotions on their behaviour and build their self-regulation and help-seeking skills. For more information about Feeling Fantastic, go to the Interventions Plus website.
Please note that students do not need a diagnosis of anxiety or depression to participate. It may just be that their parents/carers have noticed a change in their mood or behaviours, or the student may feel concerned about their mood or behaviours.
Hands on Learning (Gardening)
Hands on Learning (HoL) is a wonderful program at West Wallsend High School that allows young people to participate in practical gardening activities while building their social and emotional skills. West Wallsend High School has a long history of running a gardening program for students, but 2022 is the first year we have incorporated the robust HoL framework into the program.
HoL is a program officiated by Save the Children, which builds wellbeing, engagement, and attendance by creating opportunities for students to discover their talents and experience success through significant and authentic hands-on projects.
HoL at West Wallsend High takes place on Thursdays and runs across Periods 1, 2 and 3, with students participating in various practical gardening-based activities around the school each week. Groups run for approximately 15 weeks, with groups commencing by Week 5 of Terms 1 and 3 and running until the end of the following term.
HoL can benefit students in many ways:
- It provides students with practical learning opportunities and the chance to get their hands dirty.
- It supports the development of confidence when students see that they can persevere with tasks that might be a bit out of their comfort zone.
- It encourages the development of social and emotional skills by implementing weekly 'focus plans' that encourage and support students to be purposeful around how they interact with others and monitor their feelings during HoL sessions.
- It enables students to see the outcome of their hard work in the short term and long term as they harvest edible plants and watch plants grow.
For more information about Hands-on Learning, you can go to the Hands on Learning website.
If you think your young person might benefit from participating in the HoL program, please contact Head Teacher Wellbeing, Sharon Jenness, or their Deputy Principal.
Study Without Stress
For students completing their HSC, managing stress levels is an essential part of helping them to achieve their goals. Study Without Stress (SWOS) equips them with knowledge and practical tips on approaching and overcoming the stress associated with heavy workload and exams in the final years of high school. Students are encouraged to participate in the program before stress has reached a severe level; however, the program can be beneficial at any time. The program uses Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) techniques to help participants get the most out of their final years at school whilst keeping stress manageable. For more information about SWOS, go to the Study Without Stress page on the Macquarie University website.