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A holistic approach to school wellness

Student and staff wellbeing is a non-negotiable at Haileybury – from ELC to Year 12.

NEWS 2 Nov 2023

Last year the School introduced a whole scope and sequenced curriculum for students with time dedicated each week to learning about the importance of, and how to look after one’s wellbeing. However, looking after your wellbeing extends far beyond a lesson, it is embraced in co-curricular activities and incorporated in all subjects, where each of these opportunities work together to build positive student wellbeing at school.

“Students learn about respectful relationships in relation to themselves, with others and how to take care of their mental and physical wellbeing. We want to promote good mental health, healthy relationships, a growth mindset, a sense of belonging and resilience in every student,” says Diane Furusho, Deputy Principal Student Wellbeing.

With the focus on wellbeing crossing the whole school, students discover appropriate topics through age-appropriate resources and guidance from teachers and subject experts.

So, what does that look like in Junior School, Middle School and Senior School at Haileybury?

Junior School: It’s all about emotions

“We believe it’s important to develop a well-rounded student from the moment they enter our School – whether that be in the ELC or Junior School, and teaching wellbeing is part of this. It builds confidence and resilience in young students, so they are able to cope with day-to-day challenges more efficiently,” says Niki Preston, Junior School Head of Wellbeing.

Younger students learn the four Zones of Regulation (blue, green, yellow and red) to help them recognise and control their emotions. In the blue zone they may feel tired, sad or bored, while in the green zone they may be happy, calm and focused. The yellow zone represents feelings like stress, frustration and excitement while the red zone represents emotions like being angry, panicked, out of control or afraid.

“Students develop a toolkit to use when they become unsettled in the playground or classroom and, with age, students can name their emotions, identify their triggers and learn how to regulate their emotions”
Niki Preston, Junior School Head of Wellbeing

“This makes sure students are in charge of their own emotions and become increasingly independent during their time in Junior School.”


Wellbeing learning and understanding from the young years 

Middle School: Learning to Thrive

During the Middle School years, a program called Thrive combines wellbeing with creating well-skilled, future-ready students. It helps students develop their ability to collaborate, adapt, problem-solve, communicate, think critically and build connections within their communities.

A range of interesting activities build these skills. For example, in Year 5, students are introduced to basic literacy concepts like income, expenses and superannuation. In Year 7, students have fundraised to build a school library in Nepal. The Thrive program also fosters enterprise and entrepreneurship through projects that encourage students to develop and create a small business.

“Thrive is designed to develop Social, Financial, Educational and Vocational capabilities,” says Aaron Bermingham, Head of Thrive (Middle School).

“The program expands student awareness of themselves as individuals, and their ability to influence the world around them. Fundraising to construct the new library in Nagarjuna Academy High School in Nepal demonstrated their ability to have an impact on an international scale. We hope Thrive nurtures a strong sense of self, a high level of confidence, a willingness to embrace challenges and a core set of positive values”
Aaron Bermingham, Head of Thrive (Middle School)

Senior School: Home sweet home

Speakers, incursions and teacher-led sessions are part of a carefully scaffolded wellbeing program in Senior School. Haileybury’s well-established House system is a key part of wellbeing, providing each student with a sense of belonging and community.

“Each student has a house and tutor group and the house becomes their family while at school. Students meet with their tutors each day and they come together as a house once or twice a week,” says Jacqui O’Neill, Head of Wellbeing Senior School.

“Students create friendships, compete for house points and take part in activities together throughout the year – from lunchtime competitions and house dinners to peer mentoring where Senior students mentor younger students and house athletics and Performing Arts.

“The Head of House also liaises with parents of students in their care and this forges stronger relationships between families and the school and creates an even greater sense of connection for our students.”

From their very first days at Haileybury to Year 12 Graduation and the busy VCE period, wellbeing is lived and breathed by every student at every campus.