“We are such a fortunate school to have such a dedicated and skilled group of parents
in the Parents Connect Group, who are willing to support the wellbeing of our students
and families. The Parent Connect Meetings are a wonderful initiative of this group that
promote strong relationships and support between parents within the class groups ”
Elaine Mills Principal
Mission:The mission of the APPS Parents Connect group is to support the school with the roll out of the KidsMatter framework through the parent cohort, in an effort to create a healthier future for our community.
Why: Evidence suggests that nearly half of all mental health problems begin before the age of 14 (KidsMatter, 2017) and that 1 in 7 primary school kids have mental health challenges (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2017). Rates of anxiety and depression are increasing in Australia (Mission Australia’s 2016 Youth Survey) and we need to equip our children (and ourselves) with the tools to thrive rather than just survive the fast pace of the modern world. A 2017 study found that “the overriding wellbeing factors for children were about their emotional life and the importance of their relationships. It included feeling safe and secure in their environment and valuing their experiences and interactions with family, friends and neighbours” (What makes a good childhood? Berry Street Childhood Institute, 2017). In essence, our relationships, or our connection with others can keep us well and help us to thrive. This is why we are called Parents Connect.
KidsMatter (www.kidsmatter.edu.au) is a national mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative set in Australian primary schools.
The KidsMatter framework identifies 4 areas or ‘components’ that schools can use to focus their efforts in supporting children’s mental health and wellbeing. The Parents Connect group has developed the following initiatives in relation to these:
KidsMatter Components APPS Parents Connect Initiative
Creating a sense of community Parent Class Meetings (PCMs), Welcome Picnic
Social & emotional Learning for Children Mindfulness Program for staff and children
Working with parents and carers Parent Class Meetings, Learning Difficulties Parent Network, Family Mentoring
Helping children experiencing mental Health difficulties Mindfulness program for staff and children
Founded in 2017, the Parent Connect initiative is now in its second year. The initiative is run by a volunteer group of parents from the school with very diverse professional backgrounds. However they all have one thing in common; they are incredibly passionate about wellbeing and helping our whole community to thrive.
What people are saying:
We have received this feedback from Craig Reid, Professional Services Manager of Principals Australia Institute Ltd.: “Wow! What a dynamic parent team you have…I am presenting at the Boosting Mental Health and Wellbeing in Schools conference on best practice in the wellbeing space….I would like to include Albert Park Primary as one of these schools”.