She delivered it to children at St Joseph’s, Kilaben Bay, using her counselling skills and her teaching experience. The program included mindfulness activities, self-control strategies, meditation and calming techniques.
In Week 1 the focus was waking up with a positive attitude and in Week 8 it was going to bed calmly and happily. In between, the program focused on emotions such as anger and worry, protecting themselves from hurtful words and being the best they could be by finding the positive in others.
Craft activities included making ‘attitude bags’ with items that made the children happy, glitter snow globes to help students be calm and blowing bubbles to release negative energy.
Each week, Jo sent home information on what had happened at school and the children practised the meditation and mindfulness techniques.
Jo expected perhaps ten children from Years 3-6 to sign up but the response was overwhelming and 43 children have been divided into two groups.
Here are some of their comments:
“I learnt how to be calm and how to be kinder to others. I liked making things.”
“I use all the activities at home and my dad has done the meditations.”
Parents, too, offered positive feedback: “delighted with changes in our child’s attitude and behaviour”; “wonderful program, practical ideas and great communication to parents”; “loved the improvement in communication and relationships in our family home”.
Jo strongly believes that “a school-parent partnership can do fantastic things” and St Joseph's strives to be a community that strengthens school/home relationships and where the mental health of all is of utmost importance.