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.


Wirreanda Learner Wellbeing- Positive Education- PERMA +



Today staff were fortunate enough to have Annette Bulling present on PERMA +, Annette is Project Lead – Education from the Wellbeing and Resilience Centre at SAHMRI ( The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute- which is an independent health and medical research institute in Adelaide ) . Annette has a background in education – worked in schools sites, regional office and central office. She spent time working for Mindmatters and Australian Childhood Foundation promoting mental health, wellbeing and trauma-informed practice.

The purpose of Positive Psychology and PERMA + at Wirreanda Secondary School is to encourage and support a  flourishing school community that focuses on POSITIVES that contribute to the wider population and in doing so help a greater percentage of people to live well and build resilience.

“PERMA” stands for the five essential elements that should be in place for us to experience lasting well-being. These are:

  1. Positive Emotion (P)

For us to experience well-being, we need positive emotion in our lives. Any positive emotion like peace, gratitude, satisfaction, pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity, or love falls into this category – and the message is that it’s really important to enjoy yourself in the here and now, just as long as the other elements of PERMA are in place.

  1. Engagement (E)

When we’re truly engaged in a situation, task, or project, we experience a state of flow: time seems to stop, we lose our sense of self, and we concentrate intensely on the present.

This feels really good! The more we experience this type of engagement, the more likely we are to experience well-being.

  1. Positive Relationships (R)

As humans, we are “social beings,” and good relationships are core to our well-being. Time-and-again, we see that people who have meaningful, positive relationships with others are happier than those who do not. Relationships really do matter!

  1. Meaning (M)

Meaning comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves. Whether this is a specific deity or religion, or a cause that helps humanity in some way, we all need meaning in our lives to have a sense of well-being.

  1. Accomplishment/ Achievement (A)

Many of us strive to better ourselves in some way, whether we’re seeking to master a skill, achieve a valuable goal, or win in some competitive event. As such, accomplishment is another important thing that contributes to our ability to flourish.

We look forward to working further with Annette and SAHMRI in the future with our goal of building resilience in our community.

Valuing Diversity and Promoting Inclusivity Focus Day

Today, on May 17th, our school celebrated IDAHOT day.  IDAHOT day is the International Day against Homophobia, and Transphobia. It was a day filled with moving speeches, inspirational groups, motivational guest speakers, and fun filled activities.

We celebrate this day to promote resilience, respectful relationships, conflict resolution strategies and mindfulness, also to help value diversity and promote inclusivity.

The year 12 health class ran focus groups/activities on seeking refuge, challenging stereotypes, charity work, being a better ally, living with disabilities and the importance of diversity. Thank you to Ms Dean for her support of the students and for all her efforts.

“ It was such a wonderful experience to see everyone enjoying themselves, and bonding over such a magnificent day. I’m really proud of everyone for opening up about their sexuality and being a straight ally. Im also so proud of Ms Parker and Ms Bruno for following through with this day, and making it the best day possible. “ -Charlotte King

“ I found it great that people were so accepting and congratulating me once I spoke about my bisexuality and how the GSA has made school a safe environment for myself and others like myself. “- Mikayla Maenpaa

Lunchtime events included cupcake making, rainbow wool craft, face painting and Ms Walton, one of our parents doing Henna tattoos.

Wirreanda demonstrated today and everyday that 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. The school strives to acknowledge that Wirreanda Secondary School is a White Ribbon and Safe School Coalition site and promotes respectful relationships amongst all members of the community.


Charlotte King and Mikayla Maenpaa

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

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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


At Wirreanda Secondary School we believe that Positive Education should be shared.
Across every aspect of our school, we believe that developing the optimism and resilience that students need to successfully navigate life is as important as academic education. These strengths will also enhance their engagement with learning. To this end, we have built positive education strategies into our pastoral care curriculum.
Based on the work of the world-renowned psychologist Professor Martin Seligman and others, Positive Education is the practical application of Positive Psychology within the school. This highly regarded branch of psychology focuses on building a person’s wellbeing to enable them to flourish in life . Given the prevalence of adolescent depression and anxiety, and the rapidly changing world we live in Wirreanda Secondary School is committed to developing a strengths-based culture that promotes the development of wellbeing in staff, students and the society we live in. Professor Seligman uses the acronym PERMA, to define wellbeing, and by building PERMA we provide “an inoculation against poor mental health.”
• Positive Emotion
• Engagement
• Relationships
• Meaning
• Accomplishment/Achievement
By teaching simple, research-backed life skills, it is possible to build a person’s PERMA. WSS strive to make our school a learning environment that uses these skills to build student achievement and wellbeing; and further promote Positive Education to parents, local schools and the broader Wirreanda community.
A Useful Article on how to include PERMA into your family life also :
PERMA Parent: Building Positive Relationships :

Welcome Dr Tri Tuyen Cao to the LWC

Wirreanda Secondary School is thrilled to welcome Dr Tri Tuyen Cao, MBBS, RACGP to the Learner Wellbeing Centre.
™ Dr Tri Graduated from Adelaide University, SA 1996 , completed a RACGP Fellowship in 2004.

She has worked as an Emergency GP consultant since 2000 in Noarlunga Hospital SA and has had her own private GP practice since 2004 .

Dr Tri has a passion for adolescent mental health and lifestyle change .

Dr Tri will be here on open night to introduce herself and will commence on a Thursday in the next few weeks .

GP packs will be available from the LWC shortly with relevant consent forms that need to be completed by the student prior to their appointment .

GP services will be available for students and their families as well as staff .

Here is a presentation that Dr Tri presented at Thinkers in Resident in applying Positive Psychology to promote positive health , a direct link with Wirreanda Wellbeing PERMA principles  – Dr Tri Positive Psychology

Dr Tri


Welcome Dr Tri !

Innovations in Education

This week Tony Lunniss and I presented on the Learner Wellbeing Centre at the K-12 Cultural Innovation in Australian Schools in Sydney .
This conference brought together some of the most innovative schools and educators from across Australia to discuss new thinking and insights, to share experience and plans and to consider the pathways for capacity building for the Australian school of the 21st century. In doing this we considered how our schools make the transition while retaining the core values of education. We brainstormed how to integrate a culture of innovation and progressive thinking into practice and service delivery. We shared perspectives, experiences and challenges from public, independent, catholic and international schools.
Please click on the link to follow our presentation :Wirreanda Learner Wellbeing Centre

An introduction to the National Safe Schools Framework

Schools are among the safest places in the community for children and young people. The National Safe Schools Framework, originally developed in 2003, provides a vision and a set of guiding principles for safe and supportive school communities that promote student wellbeing and develop respectful relationships. It identifies key elements that help create teaching and learning communities where all members of the school community feel secure from harassment, aggression, violence and bullying. This is not just a new ‘programme’, it is a culture and a philosophy underpinning all that happens in the school.

Guiding principles

The vision is underpinned by the following guiding principles that represent fundamental beliefs about safe, supportive and respectful school communities, a prerequisite for effective learning in all school settings.

At Wirreanda Secondary School we ;
-affirm the rights of all members of the school community to feel safe and be safe at school
-acknowledge that being safe and supported at school is essential for student wellbeing and effective learning
-accept responsibility for developing and sustaining safe and supportive learning and teaching communities that also fulfil the school’s child protection responsibilities
-encourage the active participation of all school community members in developing and maintaining a safe school community where diversity is valued
-actively support young people to develop understanding and skills to keep themselves and others safe
-commit to developing a safe school community through a whole-school and evidence-based approach.


At Wirreanda Secondary School we provide a supportive learning community where all students feel and are safe. Students have a fundamental right to learn in a safe, supportive environment and to be treated with respect. School staff, parents and the local community also have the right to teach, work and participate in an environment that is safe and supportive.
The Australian community rightly expects all education systems and leaders to take every available measure to ensure the safety of students and the broader school community, and to protect and support them. The Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008) affirms:
Schools play a vital role in promoting the intellectual, physical, social, emotional, moral, spiritual and aesthetic development and wellbeing of young Australians …

Australian Curriculum

The Wirreanda Learner Wellbeing Centre and Student Positive Psychology Program is aligned with the Australian Curriculum, and it provides a whole-school approach to addressing key elements of the Australian Curriculum general capabilities:
Personal and social capability: the National Safe Schools Framework provides a multi-level approach to building students’ abilities to understand themselves and others, and to manage their relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively.
Ethical understanding: the LWC and Wellbeing event activities develop an understanding of values such as honesty, justice and fair play.
Intercultural understanding: empathy for others and the acceptance of diversity are central to a safe and supportive learning environment for all students.
Information and communication technology capability: the LWC blog is rich in resources that teach responsible use of Social Network and assist students to understand the social impacts of technology.
Personal and social capability involves students in a range of practices including recognising and regulating emotions, developing empathy for others and understanding relationships, establishing and building positive relationships, making responsible decisions, working effectively in teams, handling challenging situations constructively and developing leadership.
The Wirreanda Learner Wellbeing Centre and Student Positive Psychology Program establishes a sound foundation for students to develop and flourish in their personal and social capabilities, to explore their ethical and intercultural understandings and to use social media responsibly. The approach of the Wirreanda Wellbeing Team is based on an understanding that individual student growth in these general capabilities occurs best in a school climate that enacts and models these capabilities across the whole school community and that deliberately fosters and enhances these in the broadest sense. A safe and supportive school builds social capability for a lifetime.

Projects Abroad Movies, BBQ’s and Hard Work

We can’t believe it is only 8 weeks until we take off on our amazing adventure to Camboida. The staff and students working on the project are getting excited and working hard towards the finish line. The group which consist of 15 students, 3 staff and 5 volunteers have been busy organising and running fundraising events to support the project. Our amazing year 12 students Beccy and Jake organised a Movie Night showing Transformers 4 at Marion which raised $1200! Local businesses and community members supported the group with donations for a raffle and we were blown away by the support of our community with 160 tickets sold to students, staff, parents, friends and family! 

The team and extra volunteers ran a Bunning’s BBQ at Noarlunga raising $1800. All of the students worked extremely hard on the day and the staff from Wirreanda rolled up their sleeves to support the group. Bruce’s Meats at Mitcham helped us with extremely generous donation of sausages, which received rave reviews. We cannot thank them enough for their ongoing support.

Each day we get excited to read updates from the school we are working with on Facebook, it has really helped us to remember what children and teachers have to endure to have an education in Cambodia. We can’t wait to go over and build a new kindy room for the children and their teachers.  

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Camilla West – Projects Abroad Lead Teacher