Positive Education is a whole school approach to teaching and learning that employs the science of Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Positive Psychology has three central concerns: positive emotions, positive individual traits and positive institutions.

Years 5 and 6

In Years 5 and 6, Positive Education is timetabled once a week, as well as threading through all aspects of the curriculum. Students develop a greater understanding of the 24 character strengths and develop an awareness of their own strengths and those of others. Specific mindfulness sessions are conducted throughout the year and the skills and coping strategies are incorporated into classroom practice. Goal setting and reflection are an integral part of the beginning and end of every term as students are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and to develop self-efficacy. In the development of interpersonal skills there is a focus on love, forgiveness, hope, kindness, teamwork, gratitude and humour.

Year 7

In Year 7, students complete a programme based on the Penn Resiliency Program (PRP), designed by Jane Gillham, PhD and Karen Reivich, PhD in collaboration with classroom teachers from the University of Pennsylvania as a group intervention for late elementary and middle school students. The curriculum teaches cognitive behavioural and social problem solving skills and is based in part on cognitive behavioural theories of Aaron Beck, Albert Ellis, and Martin Seligman. 

Through this model, students learn to detect unhelpful thoughts, to evaluate the accuracy of those thoughts, and to challenge negative beliefs by considering alternative interpretations. The Year 7 programme also teaches a variety of strategies that can be used for solving problems and coping with difficult situations and emotions. Throughout the programme, students learn techniques for assertiveness, negotiation, decision making, social problem solving and relaxation. The skills taught in the programme can be applied to many contexts of life, including relationships with peers and family members as well as achievement in academics or other activities.

Key topics covered this semester include: self talk role plays, thought emotion worksheets, ABC model, explanatory style, evaluating thoughts, looking for and evaluating evidence, generating alternative beliefs, mindfulness training, putting things into perspective and real time resilience.

This is not a formally assessed subject and there is no official written report.

Year 8

In Year 8, students begin the year by examining the concept of 'flourishing'. They then examine issues relevant to their experience in a ‘connected world’ with a focus on online safety. Students are supported through a scaffolded exploration of popular and emerging social media technologies. The final unit of the course explores the importance of fostering positive relationships.

This is not a formally assessed subject and there is no official written report.


Positive Education
Timbertop - Year 9