Month: March 2016

Friendship Groups with Students

Nearly everything we achieve in life is with and through people, side-by-side and face-to -face.  Being able to build rich and caring relationships with other people is an essential lifelong habit to cultivate in our students

• social-connectedness is the single greatest factor in people being happy

• friends are just like oxygen for all of us, especially adolescents.

There are many dimensions to building friendships. They include:

• living and learning collaboratively, cooperatively and respectfully with other people

• living by giving to make a positive difference to others’ lives

• focusing on mutual respect; everyone is special; expect it and respect it

• appreciating others and their strengths to learn from them by asking tell me more

• mindfully listening with their eyes, their ears and their heart; being fully present

• being true to themselves; respect the person they see in the mirror

• building empathy for others’ feelings, needs and views; being positively mindful.

A close-knit friendship group provides students with opportunities to

• enjoy leisure activities

• learn and study together

• share good and not so good times together

• combine their strengths to achieve what they set out to do.

Having friends from diverse range of backgrounds and cultures also builds wellbeing fitness.

“Be gracious to all people, but choose the best to be your friends”

Article from :



Bullying and Harassment

The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence is this Friday. The National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence (NDA) is Australia’s key anti-bullying event for schools. The day encourages all Australian students to ‘take a stand together’ against bullying and violence in the classroom, in schools and beyond.

At Wirreanda, our student leaders will oversee the day that will include:

In the morning we will invite students and staff to enter our Confession Booth and write down an experience, or something they have done in the past, that contributed to bullying or violence, and that they are not proud of. This anonymous ‘confession’, written in white and black, will be stuck on to a large board along with many others to start the artwork.

In the afternoon, however, we will invite staff and students to step into the booth for a second time and share a positive experience they’ve had with other students, an example they’ve seen of someone standing up against bullying or violence, or a gratitude message to someone else. This message, written on coloured paper, will then contribute to our anti-bullying slogan, spelling it out over the top of the confessions from earlier in the day.

Bullying is a severe form of harassment that occurs when someone, or a group of people, have power over a student and deliberately upset or hurt him/her, damage his/her property, reputation or social acceptance more than once. The student’s inner self has been hurt and may experience and feel:

  • Anxious – when will it happen again?
  • Powerless – there’s nothing I can do?
  • Angry – it’s not my fault, why me?
  • Frustrated – this is consuming me!
  • Embarrassed – are other students watching and what do they think?
  • Helpless – no one understands what I’m going through! Bullying is unacceptable in any shape or form and students must be empowered to speak up until they are heard and action is taken by responsible adults to address the issue.
  • 21st century students craving for peer esteem and acceptance often are blockers for them to report bullying.
  • They desperately don’t want to lose connections to their group and may see speaking up against as threatening this.
  • The bully must have this power taken away forever and be counselled on appropriate ways in which to treat others.
  • teaching students how to use their strengths to be assertive to overcome bullying needs to be a key strategy

Bullying Poster

“I’ve got two reasons for my success; I’m standing on both of them.” Betty Grable

Partners in Parenting Program

The Partners in Parenting Program  (linked to program’s website) are currently recruiting participants for our brief, online parenting program that provides personalised feedback and practical strategies that parents can use to reduce the risk of depression and anxiety in their teenagers. The strategies are supported by research evidence and international experts in the field. The program is based on Parenting Guidelines that were published in partnership with beyondblue and have been accessed by thousands of parents internationally. Preliminary results of a trial of the program have indicated that there have been beneficial effects on a range of family factors, including improved parent-child communication, reduced family conflict, and increased parental support for adolescents’ emotions. Adolescents whose parents received the program also reported reduced depression and anxiety symptoms 3 months later.

We are eager to invite parents of Wirreanda Secondary School students aged 12-15 (years 7-10) to participate in a free trial of this program and would love to partner with you to invite parents on board. As parents may be nervous about their children making the transition to adolescence and commencing Year 7, this time of year may be ideal to extend the opportunity to parents to participate in such a program.

Further information is attached :



Shireen Mahtani

Project Manager, Yap Lab – Parenting and Youth Mental Health

School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University


Youth Worker

My name is James Skehan; I’m a youth worker from Re-engage Youth services and have become a new edition to the Wellbeing team.

I would like to pass on information regarding a breakfast club for students that the wellbeing centre will be running twice a week on Mondays and Fridays 8.00am to 8.40am starting on the 8th February. Breakfast club will be located in the boardroom in the Learning Hub.

Each Wednesday as part of my role I will distribute food packages to local families within our community . A focus of my role in 2016 is connecting with our local community by assisting our families in need , running the breakfast program to help facilitate student engagement , running wellbeing events and running targeted groups in both middle and senior school and working alongside the wellbeing team.

In consultation with students we have decided to create a club based around the card game Yu-Gi-Oh, this club will be running every Friday at lunch in the Nunga room (except during school events).

Yu-Gi-Oh Club Poster

We will promote upcoming wellbeing lunchtime events shortly.



Wellbeing 2016


Welcome to 2016 ,

The Wellbeing Team is very excited about the year ahead.

This year we will be value adding to our Wirreanda  community by extending our work further with professional volunteers from the community . Volunteers will work across various areas of the school supporting students in their learning and wellbeing .

In upcoming posts each member of the Wellbeing Team will discuss their role in implementing our dedicated approach to building positive community partnerships , continuing to build upon our whole school ethos of student learner engagement and wellbeing .

This year we continue to work with Dr Tri our GP , Cara Crothers our Psychologist and welcome Ashleigh Ditcham as an additional Psychologist to our wellbeing team , the team prides itself on providing a holistic approach to student mental health and facilitating student engagement through their services .

In 2016 , we continue to expand upon our PERMA principles of Gratitude and community service by taking part in our second expedition to Siem Reap in Cambodia and building a new school .

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to work alongside such a dedicated , compassionate team who work tirelessly to create positive experiences from schooling for all the students they encounter .

Please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Wellbeing Team for issues around student wellbeing .

Cambodia Fundraising in Full Swing

This week has yet again highlighted the incredible generosity and support of our local community .On Sunday we braved the hot and humid conditions to run a Bunnings BBQ to help raise funds . This week we had donations of guitars for a music program we are going to run in Cambodia , huge thanks to Nick Seja at Southern Music and Chris Braven for organising this , as well as the Matthews family . Thank you to National Pharmacies Aldinga and Plaster4you for their kind donations.

All proceeds of donations , raffles , silent auctions go towards raising funds for our July expedition to Siem Reap.

A huge thank you to Amanda Rishworth and the local community who gathered up donation supplies of stationary and first aid supplies for our trip in July . Amanda presented hundreds of donations to the students , staff and parents from Wirreanda who are involved in the Cambodia Expedition.

Amanada Pic