Weaving Well-Being Program
The aim of this guide is to suggest a range of practices to help cultivate a positive school culture, and show how the Weaving Well-Being Program contributes to its development. Suggestions for improving teacher well-being are also offered, as this is a critical ingredient in forming a successful school culture.
It is very likely that your school is already engaging in many of these practices on an informal level – possibly without even being fully aware of their importance. It’s encouraging for us, as educators, to acknowledge the value of the work we’re already doing. When we realise the value of these practices and place them on a more formal footing, we can more easily focus and prioritise our well-being goals.
The guide is in 3 parts:
offers ideas to help embed and develop the program in the whole school setting, both before, during and after the 10-week time frame.
offers examples of whole school practices which promote a culture of well-being on a more general level. These practices are informed by the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework (2018). This guide also aims to assist schools by helping them identify good practices already in place and providing practical ideas for improvement in targeted areas.
suggests practices to support teacher well-being.
Part 1: Embedding Weaving Well-Being in a Whole School Setting
Well-being means feeling good and strong in our minds and bodies, having energy, getting along with and helping others, knowing our strengths and feeling proud because we are doing our best. It means we can cope with the little problems and disappointments of life. It means enjoying life, being grateful for what we have and accepting ourselves just as we are!
These ideas are suggested as a guide. Schools should choose only the ones they feel are most appropriate and beneficial to their own particular needs or preferences.
Before the program begins:
- Send the Weaving Well-Being Parent Information Letter to all parents, available to download using the link at the bottom of this page.
- Launch the program with an announcement to the whole school. Through this announcement, children can be told how important well-being is, how the school values it and that they will soon be learning lots of ways to improve their well-being through the Weaving Well-Being Program.
- Endeavour to teach the program throughout the school within a specific time-period. A ten-week block is suggested, however, schools are busy places so this may not be possible. Aim to have the lessons completed within one term, possibly the first or second.
- Set up a Well-Being Display Board or area in the school’s foyer or reception area. Display the Language of Well-Being Posters. Add to and change the display board throughout the year in line with specific well-being themes.
- Have a Well-Being Suggestion Box for children, teachers and parents to offer suggestions. Explain that all ideas are welcomed and will be considered, but it may not be possible to implement them all!
- Consider displaying a Well-Being Charter or Well-Being Declaration in a prominent position in the school. A simple declaration could be formed using the three key messages: You matter here. You belong here. You can succeed here.
For the duration of the formal lessons:
- Reinforce the skills and strategies for children with special needs who may need extra support.
- Introduce a Shake-Up to Wake-Up time throughout the school. Choose a certain time each morning (it may vary from day to day) and allow all classes to participate in a movement break either in their classrooms or outside. Alternatively, teachers can schedule Shake-up to Wake-Up time for their own classes for times that suit them. Perhaps aim for a whole-school Shake-Up to Wake Up break together once a week or at various intervals. Use www.gonoodle.com or similar sites for guided movement breaks.
- Emphasise the school’s healthy eating policy through targeted activities or consider a Healthy Eating Week.
- Well-Being Poster Competition: Organise a poster competition throughout the school in which children illustrate their favourite well-being quotes or make up their own. Choose a different theme for each year level, e.g. Gratitude, Kindness, Inspiring People, Resilience, Healthy Body, Happy Mind etc. Display the posters around the school.
- Display the 24 Character Strength Posters throughout the school or under a heading such as “In this school, we value these strengths”.
- Create a school Gratitude Tree in a prominent position in the school. Children can write or draw something they’re grateful for on leaves. A selection of leaves from all classes can then be used to decorate the tree. A leaf template is available in the Positive Emotions Teacher Book.
After all classes have completed the lessons:
- Have a whole school announcement to mark the end of the formal lessons. Remind children of how important their well-being is and encourage them to use the skills they’ve learned in their daily lives from now on.
- Encourage individual classes or year levels to present assemblies to the school showing what they have learned about their well-being during the program.Year 2 children could perform the rap and make up their own dance routines or actions to it. Parents could be invited to attend also.
- Continue the whole school Shake-Up to Wake-Up morning routine as previously suggested.
- Display the Character Strength Posters (Year 2 Program) around the school.
- Focus on the 24 Character Strengths at award ceremonies or school assemblies – Creativity Award, Kindness Award, Bravery Award, Optimism Award etc.
- Have a Gratitude Week. Children can be encouraged to write and deliver letters of gratitude, keep a gratitude diary and make posters. Place Random Thank-You signs around the school, for example: Thank-you for holding this door open! Thank-you for not pushing in the line! Thank-you for being a good friend! Thank-you for being kind!
- Have a Strength-Spotting Week at whole school level.
- Choose a particular day of the week for a Random Act of Kindness Challenge throughout the school. Allow children to choose, perform and record five acts of kindness that day. Continue this challenge over a six-week period, e.g. every Tuesday for six weeks. Discuss and celebrate at whole school level after the six weeks.
- Incorporate 5–10 minutes of Mindfulness Time at the same time daily throughout the whole school. The guided meditations from the Weaving Well-Being Program are available on the website www.otb/WWB or there are many other mindfulness resources online for schools to choose from. Mindfulness colouring can also be used on alternative days for variety. A guide for introducing mindfulness colouring can be found here:
- Introduce Rainbow Moments Week on a whole school level. All classes can be taught/reminded of the lesson (Positive Emotions, Lesson 7) and use individual Rainbow Moments notebooks to record three positive events from the day before. After this week, individual teachers may wish to continue this practice in their own classes for a more extended period of time.
- Introduce the “Win-Win” concept as a whole school strategy for dealing with conflict (Positive Relationships, Lesson 4).
- Introduce the NABB strategy – Name, Accept, Breathe, Body – for emotional regulation at whole school level (Tools of Resilience, Lesson 10).
- Have a Give, Give, Give Week in which children brainstorm ways to contribute to the school or local community and decide which ones to implement.
- Have regular Well-Being Self-Assessment Weeks. All classes can be directed to use the Well-Being Self-Assessment Check-Up which is at the back of each Student Book. Children choose an area of their own well-being to improve on and work on it for a week. They then reassess at the end of the week and record any changes.
- Have a Well-Being Week towards the end of the year to celebrate and recognise well-being at whole school level. Each day could have a specific theme, e.g. Healthy Body – Happy Mind Day, Gratitude Day, Random Acts of Kindness Day, Resilience Day, Care and Connect Day.
- Have a Weaving Well-Being Booster Week the term after completion of the lessons. Teachers can decide which lessons they would like to reinforce at individual class level. The selected PowerPoints can be shown and followed up with some of the supplementary materials which were not previously used.
Part 2: Whole School Practices to Promtoe Well-Being
The following suggestions are more general practices which can help promote well-being at whole school level.
The Australian Student Wellbeing Framework outlines the following five elements for well-being promotion in schools:
1. Leadership: Visible leadership to inspire positive school communities
2. Inclusion: Inclusive and connected school culture
3. Student Voice: Authentic student participation
4. Partnerships: Effective family and community partnerships
5. Support: Wellbeing and support for positive behaviour
All members of the school community are active participants in building a welcoming school culture that values diversity and fosters positive, respectful relationships.
- Letter from Parents: At the start of each school year, class teachers can invite parents to write them a letter about their child. Parents can be encouraged to share the child’s strengths as well as any concerns they may have about their child. They can be sent in to the class teacher in a sealed envelope to ensure confidentiality. Letters can be kept and discussed at the parent-teacher meetings or beforehand, at the teacher’s discretion.
- Letter from Children: Teachers can also ask their students to write them a letter at the start of the year. Children can be encouraged to share their strengths and interests as well as things that help them learn and succeed in class. They can also share anything that they may be worried about for the coming year and anything else that they would like their teacher to know.
- What would you like me to know? Have a “What would you like me to know?” box or tin in each
classroom or at whole school level so that children can write a note about anything that they feel they would like the teacher to know on a day-to-day basis. This could be worries, concerns or something that is happening in their lives that they would like to share with their teacher. Teachers can discreetly have a word with any child who shares any concern or any information in this way. Often it is just the act of listening that is very reassuring and it is a concrete way of telling each child that they matter and that their teacher cares about them.
- Sensory Area or Well-Being Area in classrooms or in a particular area of the school with sensory items, cushions or beanbags for children who need to take some time out to deal with overwhelming emotions.
- Buddy Bench: Establish a designated bench on the playground. If a child is feeling lonely, or wants to make new friends, they can sit on the bench. Students who see a child sitting on the bench are encouraged to invite them to play or simply sit with them and chat.
- Playground Helpers system for recess and lunch times.
- Buddy Systems/Mentoring Systems between older and younger classes.
- Social and Emotional Support Groups for children needing additional support.
- Regular assemblies which outline common goals and celebrate contributions towards shared goals or values.
- “We All Belong Right Here” display to celebrate and recognise the various cultures and identities represented in the school.
- Culture Day to celebrate the diverse cultural backgrounds of the school community.
- School Mascot which reflects the identity of the school can help to build a sense of belonging and unity.
Students are active participants in their own learning and wellbeing, feel connected and use their social and emotional skills to be respectful, resilient and safe.
- Use the Weaving Well-being Program to teach emotional, social and coping skills.
- Introduce Restorative Practices to help deal with conflicts.
- Use a variety of teaching approaches e.g. pre-teaching, co-teaching, team teaching.
- Student reflective learning logs used weekly to record learning and set targets.
- Growth Mindset Praise (Process Praise) used throughout the school – see examples in the Empowering Beliefs Teacher Book.
- Use of Peer Tutoring approaches.
- Teaching helpful self-talk strategies – see examples on the Ladder of Perseverance Poster from the Character Strengths program.
- Use of the 24 Character Strengths to promote a strengths-based approach to writing Individualised Educational Plans.
- Use of What Helps Me to Learn? checklists to help children understand and become engaged in their own learning.
- Use of differentiation in all lessons to provide opportunities for success and challenge.
- Regular use of self-assessment in all classes.
- Student Council: Representatives from each class can express ideas and follow up on decisions.
- Weekly Class Meetings: Children and teacher share what is going well and set class goals for the week ahead.
- School Well-Being Committee: Teachers and students meet to discuss and implement new suggestions.
- Suggestion Boxes in each classroom.
Many additional ideas for promoting well-being can be found at the Australian Government’s Wellbeing Hub: www.studentwellbeinghub.edu.au
Part 3: Whole School Practices to Support Teacher Well-Being
“Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” – Eleanor Brownn
Teacher well-being is vital to building a positive school culture. According to the Australian Student Wellbeing Framework, “Educators who feel valued and supported are more likely to engage positively with students and build stronger connections with the school community.” Consider implementing some of the following strategies:
- Consider teacher well-being when new initiatives are being considered to ensure that workload is not continually increasing.
- Make time to nurture and build positive staff relationships.
- Have a Staff Well-Being Committee. See suggestions at www.theguardian.com/teacher-network/teacher-blog/2018/feb/01/staff-wellbeing-team-school-improved
- Encourage staff to use the skills and strategies from the Weaving Well-Being Program on a personal level as appropriate.
- Allow teachers to share areas of strength and expertise at whole school level.
- Ensure teachers feel recognised and valued on a day-to-day level.
- Develop an active staff Social Committee and provide opportunities for social events to develop a sense of belonging.
- Promote a mentoring system for new staff.
- Promote a collaborative approach throughout the school.
- Recognise the value of encouragement and support for teachers.
- Give teachers a sense of autonomy, control and choice wherever possible.
- Aim for consultation wherever possible in areas of change.
- Provide appropriate training and resources for new initiatives.
- Provide specific training in well-being skills and coping strategies.
- Encourage a culture of self-care and self-compassion within the staff. See suggestions at: