It was really exciting to represent Quirky Kid at the Positive Schools 2016 Mental Health and Wellbeing Conference in Singapore last month. The Conference aims to provide solution focused ideas and strategies for nurturing wellbeing, positive mental health and a love of learning and life in young people.
My role at the conference was to launch our Social and Emotional Learning Program, The Best of Friend Program as well as to display and sell the Quirky Kid resources - and they've sold out. I have also spoken with educators from around the world about what we have to offer and came home with many ideas and practical strategies to share with my team.
There were several presentations over the two days and some hands-on workshops like an inspiring presentation by Dr David Bennett who spoke about nurturing resilience and wellbeing in children. He explored some links between brain science, development and behaviour, and the implications for wellbeing. Next, a particularly impactful presentation was by Thea O'Conner, who spoke about reshaping body image. Thea explained that adults' own negative feelings about their own body image (and the widespread population ideals about body image) can heavily influence children's way of thinking. This drew attention to the importance of changing societies views of this topic to ensure better outcomes for our children.
The end of Day One brought an insightful presentation by Professor Donna Cross about bullying prevention. Donna shared some of her own research on successful ways to reduce bullying behaviour experienced by children. She explained her thoughts on the fact that we often focus on individual intervention for children involved in bullying situations, and suggested that we should instead be focusing on changing the culture in schools to make bullying an unacceptable action by everyone's standards. It seems that this strategy could have the most positive outcome overall. The positive energy, and view for new ways of tackling different problems, was evident at the end of the first day, and the anticipation for Day Two was felt.
Day Two started off with a fun and uplifting presentation by Justin Robinson from Geelong Grammar School, who spoke about the importance of building positive relationships with school-aged children. Justin suggested that the simple act of a teacher going to the effort of remembering each child's name and something specific about them, and having real a conversation with them, can make a massive difference to that child's experience at school. This was followed by Janet Etty-Leal who explained why mindfulness can be a really great addition to school routines. Giving children the opportunity to practice mindfulness in schools has been shown to not only have a positive effect on the children's wellbeing but has also tackled some issues such as disruptive behaviour and teachers having to discipline children for "bad behaviour".
The conference was a great event for Quirky Kid to be involved in and was very much in line with our vision for positive futures. It was exciting to bring The Best of Friends program to more and more schools, and we can't wait for the next conference opportunity!
You can find information on the conference and all of the speakers here.