Resilient, Confident and Happy Children


On Wednesday 28th January, all Auburn South staff had the privilege of attending a workshop led by Mr Hugh van Cuylenburg from the ‘Resilience Project’. Hugh’s highly engaging and uplifting workshop focussed on the importance of positive psychology its impact on student learning, social development and emotional well-being. He also talked at length about the importance of maintaining an ‘Appreciation Mindset’ and ‘Being Grateful’.

Parents often speak to me about their children’s lack of willingness to engage in conversations about their day at school and are disappointed when they get a ‘shrug of the shoulders’ a ‘grunt’ or a ‘nothing much’ type of response.

This is not unusual as students are often tired, hungry, looking forward to other recreational activities or wanting down-time on the couch!

Dr Martin Seligman (psychologist and author) proposes a framework for positive psychology as a pathway towards resilience:
– gratitude
– positivity
– empathy
– kindness
– mindfulness

In Dr Seligman’s, Flourish (2011), he references the PENN Resilience Program and discusses the importance of students:

  • identifying their signature character strengths
  • increasing their use of these strengths in their
  • daily lives

Specific activities have been designed to engage families in discussions that lead to the development of ‘identity building’ around character strengths and the behaviours mentioned in Dr Seligman’s Positive Psychology Framework.

Take the Challenge! ~ The Three-Good-Things Exercise

As a family:

  • Write down three good things that happened each day for a week. The three things could be small (‘I answered a really hard question in Maths today’) or big (‘I was able to welcome a Chinese visitor to our school by speaking in Mandarin today.’)
  • Next to each positive event, write about one of the following:

–          Why did this good thing happen to you?
–          How can you have more of this good thing in the future?

This simple activity will help to engage students and families in discussions about their strengths and positive experiences that happen on a daily basis.

Please feel encouraged to share your positive experiences with the school community!

Our work with Hugh van Cuylenburg and members of the Resilience Project will continue throughout 2014. Our parent workshop will be on Tuesday 3rd June. Please collect a reply form from the office.

All the best for a positive, rewarding and enriching 2014.

Marcus Wicher