St John Fisher Catholic School was fortunate enough to be selected as one of the 50 schools in Australia to become involved in ‘Kidsmatter’, a mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative for primary schools in 2006. There are many schools across the nation currently involved in Kidsmatter.
Schools have a significant influence on students’ emotional, social and behavioural development. There is a growing understanding that primary school years represent a significant opportunity for mental health promotion, and the prevention and early intervention or mental health problems in children. Students who are mentally healthy learn better, have better relationships with teachers, family members and peers, and exhibit greater resiliency in meeting life’s challenges.
Kidsmatter aims to strengthen those factors that protect students from developing mental health problems. To improve the mental health and wellbeing of students, Kidsmatter schools focus on four key components. These are:
- A Positive School Community
Identifying how we can enhance our school climate to support student mental health and wellbeing, giving particular emphasis to ensuring that students, staff and parents feel ‘connected’ to each other and the broader school community.
- Social and Emotional Learning for Students
Students receive social and emotional curriculum using evidence based programs to improve their self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, relationship skills and their capacity for responsible decision-making.
- Parenting Education and Support
Parents and families receive opportunities to access information on child development and parenting, as well as engage with other parents and families.
- Early Intervention for students at risk or experiencing mental health difficulties
School staff and parents receive information on strategies to support and assist children at risk of or experiencing mental health problems. This includes information on detecting signs of mental health difficulties in young children, information on local service providers and how to access evidence-based programs and interventions.
St John Fisher works collaboratively with students, parents and staff to develop and strengthen each component area to further improve the mental growth of the children at our school.