‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults’ – F. Douglass
This quote sums up the rationale behind Weaving Well-Being – a new, multi-level SPHE programme for primary school children from 2nd to 6th class. It draws on evidence-based skills from the field of Positive Psychology, which is the science of well-being. Its authors are Fiona Forman and Mick Rock, both of whom have an M.Sc. in Applied Positive Psychology.
Fiona, who is a primary school teacher and well-being facilitator from Dublin, saw the need for practical resources to promote children’s well-being through her work in the classroom. With growing numbers of children displaying signs of anxiety and worry, she realised that early intervention to promote well-being skills in the school setting could be very beneficial.
The programme grew from her classroom practices, as she soon saw the immense positive response from pupils and parents alike. Following a very successful pilot stage in schools all around the country with feedback from pupils, teachers and parents, the programme was finalised in 2017.
The programme was launched in Drumcondra Education Centre by Outside the Box Learning Resources and has gone from strength to strength since then – it is now in use in over 60% of Irish schools. Another milestone was reached in May 2019 when the programme was launched in Australia by Hawker Brownlow Education.
Specific focus for each year
Each year level has 10 lessons and has a specific focus – Character Strengths for 2nd Class, Positive Emotions for 3rd, Tools of Resilience for 4th, Positive Relationships for 5th and Empowering Beliefs for 6th.
Each topic also has a particular theme to make it child-centred and appealing. For example, the theme of the Second Class programme is ‘treasure’ and the 24 Character Strengths of Positive Psychology are introduces as treasure coins. Each class level has a Teacher Resource Book and a Pupil Book. The Teacher Resource Book contains background information, lesson plans, supplementary activities and a PowerPoint presentation for each lesson.
The programme is underpinned by the concept that a state of well-being is not simply the absence of the negative, but the presence of the positive. The lessons give children the opportunity to weave positivity into their daily lives through a range of activities in a variety of areas and parental involvement is also encouraged through a range of homework activities.
A small initial study on the programme indicated very positive results with more extensive research is planned from September 2019. Teacher summer courses on the programme have also delivered in many Education Centres nationwide.
More information on the programme is available from Outside the Box Learning resources at www.otb.ie/weaving-well-being-homepage