As Appleby College students worked in a remote learning environment this spring, the application of Positive Education and increasing student wellbeing and social emotional learning were central to Appleby’s Remote Learning Programme. Weaved throughout the curriculum, the approach included a variety of elements, from the ongoing #ACRocks kindness campaign, to demonstrating how creativity supports wellbeing during this year’s Arts Week celebrations, to incorporating thematic elements that support a flourishing life in the school’s weekly Prefect’s video.
To help students manage levels of stress, anxiety and work-life balance, simple ideas, practices and interventions were shared in the daily Appleby Today e-newsletter for students and employees. Students were encouraged to begin their day by reviewing Wellbeing Corner, a feature highlighting insights based on the PERMA-V/H framework of positive psychology: Mondays were matched with P, for Positive Emotions; Tuesdays with E, for Engagement; Wednesdays with R, for Relationship; Thursdays with M, for Meaning; Fridays with A, for Achievement; and every day with V/H, for Vitality/Health, as reflected in the daily Mindful Movement Activity.
“In addition to supporting students academically in our new remote learning environment, we also focused on their overall wellbeing – both mental and physical. Everything we do and every emotion we feel relates to our wellbeing,” shared Theresa Blake, director, positive education. “In turn, our wellbeing directly affects our actions and emotions. Therefore, it is important for us to achieve optimal wellbeing in order to manage stress and ensure we show up as our best self each day.”
From Middle School to Senior School, Positive Education was in action. In last year’s Presentations of Learning (POL) process for Middle Two students, faculty mentors supported students in framing their skill development by their Positive Learner Attributes: Strength, Innovation, Awareness, Curiosity and Engagement. Throughout the process, students gained greater awareness of the meaning of those experiences and how they supported human flourishing in preparation for the next school year.
“Going through the POL process offers students the opportunity to attain meaning, which drives them toward fulfillment and wellbeing,” explained Diana Dodd, director, positive education. “As they consider all their experiences and highlight those moments at Appleby that seem to resonate the most, they are going through a very important process in wellbeing because they better understand themselves.”
The school also introduced the innovative Appleby College Graduate Club to better prepare Senior Two students for life after Appleby as they completed their final term in the remote learning environment. Two sessions were held each week through to the end of the school year and offered modules on increasing wellbeing and life satisfaction.
As we look forward to an in-person return to school in September, Positive Education will continue to play a critical role in supporting the wellbeing of Appleby’s students.