Resilience Workshops

In term 2 a four week workshop was conducted with some year 8 students to educate them on anxiety management & resilience skills.

The group was a confidential & safe space for them to express their thoughts & feelings in a verbal & creative manner. The work shop consisted of a number of discussions & activities based around positive psychology, mindfulness, gratitude, values, emotions & feelings reflection.

The students involved were encouraged to discuss & express their understanding of how to manage anxiety & were given strategies to improve their resilience.

This workshop resulted with a positive outcome, with students reporting back that they found it beneficial & would be interested in continuing similar workshops in the future.

Thank you to all those who participated & who were involved in planning & delivering the workshop.

Rebecca & Maria

ACAP student Counsellors.



Mindfulness is a secular and scientific approach to increasing resilience and positive emotions. It teaches students to not be overwhelmed by thoughts and emotions. Students learn a range of breathing techniques which can be used in a variety of settings to improve concentration, such as before tests and exams, sport and performances, also to assist sleep.

This year, we are lucky to be working again with Catherine Johnson, studying a PHD through Flinders University on the impact of Mindfulness to build resilience in adolescents. In 2014 & 2015, Catherine conducted eight week Mindfulness program with two year 8 classes. This program was based on a UK model .b (Stop and breathe). Whilst the program is excellent in curriculum content, there was insufficient data to support that the curriculum has contributed to reducing the effects of depression, anxiety and eating disorders.

This year, Catherine is trialling a Mindfulness Curriculum from Belgium, where there is quality data supporting that it has reduced incidents of depression, and anxiety, therefore increasing resilience in young people.

We are into our second week of the eight week program with a class of Year 8 and 10 students. The Mindfulness curriculum is part of their Health program. Teachers of these classes Wayne Olifent and Ralf Pirone, are participants with the class, as well as myself.

We have learnt short breathing meditations and more recently, a 20 minute body scan. This was the most challenging of the meditations, teaching us to pay attention to the present moment for an extended period of time. We were extremely impressed by students participation and respect through this exercise.

With perseverance and daily practice, Mindfulness enables us to retrain our brains to lead a more positive and resilient life. Our school Executive staff are into their second year of starting each meeting with 5 minute breathing meditation to assist focus and productivity.

Should anyone wish to contact the school for further information, please call.

Kadri Auväärt

Counsellor/ Community Connections

8329 7200


Take a Stand

On Friday the 17th of  March 2017, Wirreanda Secondary School conducted a whole day of focus and awareness around resilience, respectful relationships, conflict resolution strategies and mindfulness, to help ‘ take a stand together’ and support BULLY NO WAY!

This included;

Morning sessions:

Teachers booked their classes into morning sessions with key guests including , focus leaders and student leaders who have made areas of resilience, respectful relationships, mindfulness and conflict resolution.

Mid afternoon session:

A mid-afternoon to lunchtime walkthrough information session, in which students completed a ‘resilience walk’, through various community groups and service providers gathering key information, justifying their emotional responses, expressing their opinions, beliefs, questions and choices, in order to build and modify safety strategies.

Lunchtime Event

A lunchtime school community event, showcasing our school’s commitment and awareness of BULLY NO WAY, with school bands performing songs of hope and encouragement, food and more information displays and workshops.

And finally two afternoon sessions:

One with a key guest speaker discussing their own battle with life setbacks, how to evaluate/rethink and refine life after unexpected or difficult situations and self-discipline strategies and personal experiences.

And the other with Helen Sleeman our Wellbeing Officer and Nick Jackson discussing Digital Citizenship with our learners parents .

This in turn further supported our safe school policy, strategy and programs in which;

All members of Wirreanda Secondary school have the right to be included and have respect from others, the right to learn or to be taught, and a right to feel safe and secure in their school environment.

Acknowledges that Wirreanda Secondary School is a White Ribbon and Safe School Coalition site and promotes respectful relationships amongst all members of the community.

The Wellbeing Team


Wellbeing Week Five at @WirreandaSS

Term four is a challenging term for all schools for many reasons. Year 12 exams, pending year 10 & 11 Exams, Year 8 & 9 Round Table, completing Semester 2 work, not to mention any personal challenges students and families may be facing.
Our school philosophy encompasses staff being professional mentors and role models for our students. We believe it is critical to ‘practice what we preach’, therefore, our Positive Psychology strategies are also practiced by our staff.
On Tuesday 10/11, we had the privilege of working with Louiza Hebhardt, founder and Director of EQUILIBRIUM. Louiza has worked with many schools addressing PERMA principles for the whole school setting including staff. More information about her work can be viewed on https://louizahebhardt.wordpress.com/

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Kadri Auvaart Louiza Hebhardt Gabrielle Rinaldi

On Tuesday 10/11/15, 9am – 12pm, Wirreanda Secondary School hosted Southern Counsellors Network. Participants are from approximately 20 different school settings. This forum explores professional discussions and Training and Development for School Counsellors. The Counsellors role in schools is increasingly complex and it is critical all the latest and relevant agency support and information is shared. On the agenda this week was Teresa Bruno, (Assistant Principal Learner Wellbeing) who shared how the Learner Wellbeing centre was established with community partnerships. This session highlighted to other schools the difference it has made having a GP and Psychologist on site. Also critical to the operation of LWC is our ongoing partnerships with Tabor College Masters Counselling students ,The Smith Family, Flinders University Masters Social Work placements and Medical and Nursing students placements.

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Karissa Clare from The Smith Family ’Learning For Life’ discussed the process of Scholarship application for students in Partnership Schools. The Smith family provide a tremendous service to families and provide many opportunities for students to be engaged in Homework Clubs, iTrack online mentoring program, Peer Reading Program and financial support for educational needs.

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Niccy Pallant, Counsellor from Hallet Cove demonstrated a Data Entry program being used by some schools in keeping Welllbeing data, which informs the school on how many students Counsellors see, how many male and female students, parent concerns and issues which counsellors deal with. This data is crucial to determine trending issues amongst young people and how schools can respond to issues affecting attendance and engagement.

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ANZAC and REMEMBRANCE DAY have become important days for our young people to observe, as all families can make connections to relatives who have served in conflicts, with many families having friends and relatives who are presently serving in the Australian Defence Forces.
On Wednesday 11/11/15, Wirreanda Secondary School observed Remembrance Day at the Memorial Plaque of Sapper Darren Smith, who attended Wirreanda. He was killed on duty in Afghanistan on 7th June 2010. Many staff and students attended the service, with those new to the school very interested to learn Darrens story and that of his Explosive Detection Dog…Herbie. We are always very proud to honour Darren Smith.

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Kadri Auvaart

Mindfulness at Wirreanda


Mindfulness at Wirreanda

We are extremely lucky and excited to be part of a research and trial in Mindfulness for year 8 students at Wirreanda Secondary School.
Catherine Johnson is a qualified mindfulness teacher, as well as being a physiotherapist with an honours degree in psychology and currently undertaking a psychology research PHD.

What is mindfulness? It is a scientific approach to increase mental resilience and happiness. Research over the past 30 years show benefits of mindfulness programmes for preventing and managing stress, anxiety, depression and chronic pain.

Catherine is facilitating a course with a group of year 8 students during Tuesday Pastoral Care time this term. Delivery involves short talks, discussion, games and short mindfulness practices, with encouragement to practice these skills at home. Mindfulness practice includes:
– Learning to be still and focus on breathing (a way to train attention and to self calm)
– Scanning different parts of the body, and learning how the body feels with emotions under stress.
– Performing every day activities ‘mindfully’ (e.g., really noticing smells, tastes and textures of eating, taking notice of sensations , breathing and sounds when walking) so we can savour the positive and notice unpleasant experiences in life with a sense of curiosity, rather than ‘avoiding’ behaviour.

Last week, our lesson focused on Mindfulness Eating. We paid attention to our thoughts, emotions and body sensations when eating certain foods. These included chocolate, lemon and chilli. It was a great experience, really focusing on how certain food smells, it’s texture and how we respond to it.

This week, our lesson reviewed what we have already learnt, and how we can transfer these skills to Mindfulness Walking.








We look forward to the next few weeks and continuing to share our learning and it’s benefits.

Kadri Auvaart – Counsellor/ Community Connections