Principals’ focus on building kids’ resilience

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COMMUNITY EFFORT: Ovens Learning Community principals including (from left) Fran Waterman (Whorouly), Marie De Prada (Carraragarmungee), Jeremy Campbell (Oxley), Colin Robson (Glenrowan) and Ash Campbell (Milawa), are working with their local communities to help keep kids happy and healthy. PHOTO: Luke Plummer

A TEAM of rural school principals is leading the way when it comes to bringing their communities together and working to improve the mental health of their students.

The Ovens Learning Community (OLC) – which includes the primary schools of Carraragarmungee, Everton, Glenrowan, Milawa, Oxley, Whorouly and Winton – will hold a trivia night on October 23 as a fun way for families to get together and raise money in support of school programs.

One of those programs began in 2014 when it hosted an event featuring guest speaker, Hugh van Cuylenburg of “The Resilience Project”.

Statistics shared during the information session aimed at helping young people improve their mental health, were that one in seven primary schools kids have a mental illness, and that rural kids were particularly at risk.

Whorouly Primary School principal Fran Waterman said while the statistics on the prevalence of anxiety and depression in young people was at times confronting for those who attended, it was also helpful.

She said what was also discussed were strategies and programs which could be put in place on a day-to-day basis which could have a positive impact on students’ wellbeing.

The Resilience Project has been the impetus for a number of initiatives now being implemented by the cooperative group, which includes providing kids with access to “Smiling Mind” – a web and app-based program, designed to help bring balance to children’s lives through meditation.

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