Berry Street Education Model

  • Overview

    Tom Brunzell and Dr Jacolyn Norrish
    Who is this for?
    Parents/Carers, Primary teachers and staff
    Who is this from?
    Teachers and staff
    Mentally Healthy Communities
    Primary School, Secondary School
    Social and emotional learning
    The Berry Street Education Model (BSEM) is a whole-school approach which enables all staff members to share strategies to meet the complex wellbeing and academic needs of vulnerable students and all students through a consistent whole-school approach.
    The cost of the BSEM can depend upon the method of engagement. Berry Street offers courses for practitioners at head office in Richmond, and caters full packages for individual schools. For full pricing details please get in contact with the Berry Street business manager.
    Victoria, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania
    Training and professional development, BERRY STREET EDUCATION MODEL at The Berry Street Childhood Institute
    1 Salisbury Street, Richmond VIC 3121
    Phone number
    03 9429 9266
  • Implementation

    Detailed description

    The Berry Street Education Model focuses on actionable strategies through five developmentally-informed domains: Body, Relationship, Stamina, Engagement, and Character. The Model provides schools with the training, curriculum and strategies to engage children, particularly those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged, so that they can achieve their personal and social potential through educational achievement. The model can be implemented within both mainstream and specialist schools.

    Program structure & method delivery

    The Berry Street Education Model is delivered by teachers and universally implemented. The delivery of the Berry Street Education Model is most effective as a whole-of-school approach where all school staff form a single learning cohort. Although the program has been adapted to smaller groups within a school (i.e., wellbeing teams, or professional learning teams), collaboration and sustainability is greatly enhanced when the whole-school staff learns together. Standalone parent workshops have also been an effective adaptation from the Berry Street Education Model.

    The program is delivered via five different program manuals corresponding to the five domains of the Berry Street Education Model. There are over 100 classroom strategies and recommendations within the BSEM in three different learning formats:

    Teacher strategies - classroom management techniques the teacher can implement

    Brainbreaks - critical flexible lesson breaks to help students re-engage in learning and reduce off-task behaviour

    Structured lesson plans - fully documented lessons that teachers can replicate with their students.

    Lesson plans and strategies can be applied in a flexible manner to meet the ever-changing needs of the students.

    Student assessment measures


    Professional learning compulsory


    Staff professional learning (PL): Schools wishing to implement the Berry Street Education Model should consider allocating 4 days of whole staff professional learning (Note: Some days can be divided into half-days, depending on a school’s requirements). This can be supplemented with on-site implementation consultation days.

  • Evidence

    Identified theoretical framework

    The underlying theoretical frameworks of the Berry Street Education Model are based on the principles of trauma-informed positive education, and positive psychology. Trauma-informed teaching should provide students with access and opportunities that assist them to increase positive psychological resources (Keyes 2002; Seligman et al. 2005). In order to successfully access many of these cognitive-based positive psychology interventions (e.g. character development, resilient self-talk, hope, and goal setting), students must be developmentally ready in a number of other affective, physiological, and interpersonal competencies that have been compromised by the effects of trauma (Schore 2012).

  • Authors


    Tom Brunzell and Dr Jacolyn Norrish

    About author(s)

    Tom Brunzell has over a decade of experience as a teacher, school leader, and education advisor in New York City and Melbourne. Currently, he is the Senior Advisor, Education at the Berry Street Childhood Institute. Tom presents internationally on topics of transforming school cultures, high expectations for differentiated instruction, trauma-informed practice, wellbeing and the application of positive psychology, and effective school leadership. His current PhD research and publications are in the areas of trauma-informed pedagogy, positive psychology, and their impacts on workplace meaning.


    Dr Jacolyn Norrish is an author, lecturer, and researcher. She is passionate about mental health promotion and prevention and views schools as one of the most powerful avenue for building flourishing communities. Jacolyn’s research involves Positive Education programs for Australian adolescents that explores concepts such as hope, kindness, meaning, character strengths, and gratitude. Her interests include mindfulness, acceptance commitment therapy, compassion, and altruism. She has recently published Positive Education: The Geelong Grammar School Journey (Oxford University Press, 2015).