Plenty has changed at Coolbinia Primary School in the last 12 months.
After a wellbeing survey was completed by students and staff, Be You Action Team Leader Cathy Smith reached a conclusion; “you can’t pour from an empty cup.”
As the school’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Coordinator, Cathy is aware of the importance of recognising the needs of staff and accommodating them.
This took many forms, from introducing dedicated sessions which address employee wellbeing to ensuring they aren’t feeling overwhelmed or doing too much at once.
This was largely achieved through listening to staff ‘voice’ – using the results of the survey to inform a forward-thinking strategy around wellbeing. Cathy places a high value on the flexibility of the Be You framework, which has fostered a dynamic process for deciding when and how to implement strategies.
The input of students was equally important and their feedback has also prompted changes. Such as the introduction of Mindful Monday, during which quiet spaces are created for students, as well as PUPS - Pop Up Play Spaces designed to cultivate problem-solving and social skills.
Outside of these initiatives, there has also been an effort to ensure consistency in the messaging and language around mental health. Staff agreements will integrate the four values (responsibility, respect strive and character) of the already established Positive Behaviour Support program. The same approach will be taken with the language of the Friendology program, set to be introduced school-wide in 2020.
Cathy has also channelled her musical prowess into a song called ‘Be You’, which will be performed at ‘Coolbinia’s Got Talent’ later this year.