The heart of education

Student wellbeing and strengthening community wellbeing is a whole-school priority at Geelong Grammar School; critical to shaping a positive future for our students, ultimately shaping a positive future for our world.

Our focus is to support every young person to flourish, thrive and achieve.

We believe this can only occur when a young person’s social-emotional, ethical, and physical development is considered equal to their learning and academic needs.

Research suggests that wellbeing and learning have a reciprocal and interconnected relationship. Wellbeing positively influences student learning outcomes, and success in learning enhances student wellbeing.

Consideration for student wellbeing is embedded deeply in everything that we do as a school and community. It is implicit in our way of being and explicit in our strategies, structures, programmes, and policies.

Positive Education

Our School is proud to be a pioneer in the field of Positive Education, an evidence-based, proactive approach to wellbeing centred on the cultivation of competencies, knowledge and skills to flourish.

From 2006 to 2009, we worked with Professor Martin Seligman and his team from The University of Pennsylvania to bring the science of Positive Psychology to an educational context and indeed into the Geelong Grammar School way of life.

Positive Education has become deeply embedded in how we connect and engage with students in order for them to realise the best version of themselves.

The approach considers six associated domains that are central to the promotion of human flourishing – positive relationships, positive emotions, positive engagement, positive accomplishment, positive health and positive purpose. Through these, we strive to equip students with positive mental health strategies that build resilience and the capacity to cope with the stresses of everyday life.

More about Positive Education

Wellbeing in the Early Learning Years

Children and educators in the ELC practice meditation and mindfulness every day. Together we take this daily opportunity to pause, tune in, and notice the world around us. Our daily mindful ritual brings a gentle moment of calm and allows us to tune into ourselves and our learning environment. Through story and role play, we discuss and identify character strengths in ourselves and others, building ‘wellbeing literacy’ to assist students in identifying and communicating their strengths and emotions.

Wellbeing in the Primary Years

Through explicit and implicit curriculum development, our Primary students engage in activities that promote the principles of authentic happiness, the development and use of one’s character strengths and the learning of skills to enhance one’s level of resiliency. Under the umbrella of wellbeing, students also learn about other significant life skills and concepts including mindful meditation, the connection between emotional and physical wellbeing, nutrition and fitness for life, and a balanced approach to life in general.

Wellbeing in the Timbertop Year

Arguably, the greatest example of Positive Education is the Timbertop programme. In many ways, Timbertop is one of the most powerful and directly applicable experience of the six associated domains that are central to the promotion of human flourishing.

Through community living, students learn to build positive, authentic, strong relationships. Through the challenging outdoor programme, students develop real time resilience and grit, engagement and accomplishment, strength of mind, body and character. Through a full term dedicated to service, students foster purpose and contribution. Explicit learning takes the form of team building, identifying character strengths within peer groups and Units, learning self-regulation and perseverance, finding flow, savouring positive emotions, and exploration of identity and belonging.

Discover Timbertop

Wellbeing in Middle School

The Navigate Programme

Navigate supports students as they traverse the middle years; focusing on skills for learning, personal wellbeing and what it means to belong to a community.

In Year 7 Navigate, there is an emphasis on belonging – with ourselves, with each other and with the wider world. In Year 8 Navigate, there is an emphasis on developing the strengths and capabilities which will assist a successful transition to Timbertop.

Students are supported by a Learning Coach who facilitates self-directed learning experiences, as well as the identification and pursuit of goals for learning, wellbeing and growth. Each term, students will complete Student Action Plans to identify these goals and the pathways towards achieving them.

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Wellbeing in Senior School

The Pathways Programme

Pathways supports students as they navigate purposeful choices through the Senior School and beyond.

Students participate in a range of group learning experiences that focus on skills for learning, personal wellbeing, career and tertiary pathways and service.

In Year 10, there is an emphasis on connecting to Corio and exploring that which is personally meaningful. In Year 11, there is an emphasis on making a positive difference as emerging leaders of the Geelong Grammar School community. In Year 12, there is an emphasis on successfully completing the final year of IB and VCE and the transition to life beyond school.

Students are supported by a Learning Coach who facilitates the identification and pursuit of targets relating to wellbeing, growth and performance. Each term, students complete Student Action Plans outlining these targets and the steps towards achieving them.

Discover Senior School