RESILIENCE & GROWTH MINDSET
The Cake Base of the Cupcake
To thrive in life amongst all its challenges, students need the ability to bounce back when the going gets tough. Learning the keys to resilience in the primary school years will set a child up for life. That is why the batter of the cake is such a large focus of the program. The Me Tree for Schools teaches students that the challenging or stinky situations of life can actually be used to become good fertilizer to make their tree strong and promote growth. Rather than fear difficult things, the Me Tree encourages kids to embrace challenges or hard situations, knowing that the best learning often happens outside of our comfort zones.
The four key strategies for resilience in the program include: digging for gold (thankfulness), keeping it in perspective, problem solving and filling your happy tank.
DIGGING FOR GOLD: There is a large body of evidence that has emerged regarding the link between gratitude and resilience. Digging for gold helps students to recognise that no matter how bad the situation is, with support, it is always possible to find things to be grateful for. Therefore there are things they can be thankful for even in the midst of the storm. Many students are not in a habit of being thankful. This part of the program establishes a culture of thankfulness both within the home and school.
KEEPING IT IN PERSPECTIVE: Often when students go through hard times it’s easy for them to believe and act like it’s the end of the world and dramatise the situation. However when we put things in perspective, we become more level headed and able to pursue possible solutions or ways forward.
PROBLEM SOLVING: Examining the problem and asking questions around it enables kids to come up with their own solutions. It then gives them a sense of ‘I got this’ and confidence that they can tackle the problem head on. In doing so, it discourages students away from relying on parents or teachers to fight their battles for them.
FILLING YOUR HAPPY TANK: Filling your happy tank is simply doing activities that you love, or give you life. There is growing evidence recognising the importance of mindfulness with regards to mental health. The problem is, however that many students don’t have the makeup that lends itself to quiet sedentary activities such as relaxation, drawing or meditation. This part of the program recognises that we all have different ways of filling our happy tanks. For some it will be quiet and reflective but for others it will be more physically active. Filling our happy tanks gives us a place of refuge from the storm we are in and energises us to keep moving through it.
Learning to overcome negative thinking is a key strategy toward optimal mental health and a positive outlook on life. The growth mindset part of the program, will teach students how their thoughts drive their feelings. They will learn how anxiety, negativity and depressive thoughts can become alarms to alert them to the fact that their thinking is not helpful. They will also learn how to reframe negative thinking toward a growth mindset that promotes bravery, optimism and risk taking.
GET ACTIVE: There is a known link between exercise and its positive effects on mental health. In the ‘get active’ part of the program, students examine this and learn to use exercise as a tool for helping them through tough times.