School News & Blog

October 15, 2016

Improving Children’s Relationships

Louise Edwards of Acacia Therapy Our teachers were inspired at the start of this term by an engaging presentation from a young but very experienced and extremely competent professional Louise Edwards, from the Centre for Healthy Living, on the topic “Improving Relationships Among Children – An Occupational Therapist’s Perspective”. It was an insightful presentation made all the more so by the fact that Louise is a former student of the school, attending from kindergarten to Year 7. This enabled her to relate the practices she was promoting to her experiences at the school.

Louise focussed on using social and emotional competence, which she defined as psychological resilience, to build relationships. Her start point, which the teachers immediately related to, was that “a brain that is stirred up can’t soak up”. Louise went on to describe how the skills to create emotional competence can be taught and described how. Skills such as how to be friendly, how to join in, how to cooperate, what to do if kids say no. She gave examples from her time at The School of Total Education illustrating how the practises she was promoting were what she experienced here as a student.

One such example was of how one of her teachers, recognising that the children in the class were very physical, would each morning bring in a phys-ed mat to allow the children to wrestle on. Then, after 15 minutes with their energy expended, the class would start.

Another was the regular debriefing comprising a class discussion which occurred after each time there were tears in the playground. As a result of this she learned that emotions were something they all had and could learn to recognise and manage.

Louise also strongly endorsed the school’s practice of each class spending a small amount of time each day on quietening practices of listening and breathing, quoting the research which supported the school’s founder’s belief in these practices.

Louise referred to the research which concluded that children who develop the skills of social and emotional competence

  • Are more likely to experience positive mental health throughout childhood and beyond.
  • Have more satisfying relationships
  • Have greater potential for academic achievement.

It was refreshing and reassuring for newer teachers to have such a ringing endorsement of the school’s practice and a wonderful example of the product of the school’s education.