Gwynne Park Support School faces the unique challenge of catering to a cohort where many students deal with dual diagnoses of disability and mental health issues.
Based in a resource-poor community in Western Australia and operating as an annex of the local primary school, Gwynne Park is well versed at tailoring programs for students. The most recent development in this space was a restructure of the curriculum to introduce 40 minutes of social and emotional learning (SEL) every day. There was an emphasis on mental health literacy and communication skills, especially around emotional regulation and coping with anxiety.
However, Be You Action Team Leader (ATL) Yasmin Roz wasn’t content. She wanted to push the envelope, to strive for a holistic approach to working with special needs students that incorporated the whole school community.
With qualifications in both teaching and psychology, Yasmin is well credentialed to tackle this challenge as she is currently studying for her Master of Special and Individual Education.
Collaborating with her headspace consultant, Yasmin developed PowerPoint presentations, designed activities and crafted pertinent questions to address classroom scenarios for each Be You module. She has delivered three Professional Learning sessions in 2019, with two more to come.
In less than a year, the reception has been profound. Positive changes in staff survey data have indicated a growing sense of self-efficacy, while robust discussions about how to work together more effectively has been prevalent.
The next step in the process is a staff development day dedicated to Be You, one that will strive to translate words into action. Yasmin is aware this is only the beginning. In the future, she hopes to build relationships with parents, equip families to be resilient and nurture a partnership approach to their shared interest in children’s mental health.