Positive Education Day – Mental Health and Belonging 

On behalf of the Mental Health and Belonging Focus Group, Student Leadership, Year 12 Health class and the Wellbeing Team, I would like to thank all the guest speakers, Katrine Hildyard and community groups for making today such a positive day.

Today, Wirreanda Secondary School conducted a whole day of focus and awareness around resilience, respectful relationships, conflict resolution strategies and mindfulness to help raise awareness around Mental Health and Belonging and to support  R U OK? Day.

This has included:

  • Student workshop sessions. This encompassed students working closely with key guests, with the objective of raising  awareness around Mental Health.
  • Fostering a sense of belonging within our community.
  • Facilitating learning programs that focus on responsibility to connect with, and care for others to boost confidence.

The long term outcome of these sessions as part of R U OK? Day is to continue to develop skills and knowledge in resilience, respectful relationships, and conflict resolution strategies. We hope that this will aid in enhancing our interactions with our school community, and develop meaningful life-skills for our students.

Our lunchtime community event showcased our school’s commitment and awareness of RU OK? Our students had access to a live DJ, activities from the Onkaparinga Council, henna tattoo artists, support and information from Safe Schools Coalition, and a ‘Conversation Corner’.

Throughout the year, we have actively celebrated the diversity of our school community and promoted positive wellbeing strategies to all students and staff. Events such as today are the embodiment of our safe school policy, inclusivity strategies 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
  • The right to feel safe and secure in their school environment

We acknowledge that Wirreanda Secondary School is a White Ribbon and Safe School Coalition site and promotes respectful relationships amongst all members of the community, to improve the wellbeing of all students and staff.



Be Bold Body Image Workshop

Friday the 28th of July, saw the first Be Bold Body Image Workshop offered to our year 8 and 9 girls on behalf of Centacare Family Services.

The facilitators from Centacare along with the assistance of Eliza Farrell our Re-engage youth worker,  guided the group of young women through the ins and outs of the importance of self-esteem, how media and people in our lives influence body image and the harm of their expectations on us.

Students were shown how social media can be used to set unrealistic expectations, through manipulated images, Photoshop and models posing in particular way to enhance images.

A number of students left the session with a clearer understanding of “the norm” and stepped out of their comfort zones sharing stories with the group about  times when they have felt  “not good enough” about their bodies.

Some student feedback:

“It brought me out of my comfort zone and made me realise other people feel the same way. We are made a certain way, that way is just for you and that’s okay”.

Below is an outline of what information is being delivered in sessions :

Session 1: Body image and media

-Why body image is important to self-esteem

-How professional and social media influence body image

-How media images are manipulated and unrealistic

-Why comparison is unhelpful and contributes to poor body image and low self-esteem

Session 2: Redefining beauty and developing a healthy focus

-How beauty is defined by culture and over time

-What makes someone beautiful – not just appearance

-Why dieting is unhelpful

-How to focus on health rather than appearance

Session 3: Self-esteem and resilience

-Why self-esteem is important

-How to practice self-acceptance

-How to challenge negative self-talk and develop positive self-talk

-How to develop resilience and self-confidence



Jamie Maniero – Student Counsellor

White Ribbon Ambassador

Positive Behaviours and Respectful Relationships

Naidoc Week at Wirreanda Secondary School

This years NAIDOC Week theme was “Our Languages Matter” and the week ran from the 2nd – 9th of July.

This year’s theme hoped to emphasise and celebrate the unique and crucial role that Indigenous languages play in celebrating cultural identity, linking people to their land, their water and in the communication of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through dreamtime stories and songs.

We collaborated with colleagues in the school’s Learning Hub to show documentaries and display books containing Indigenous Aboriginal art, poems, language and dreamtime stories for students to look at during their break times. Students were also involved in a video that was created in celebration of NAIDOC Week – during which, they spoke Kaurna and Ngarrindjeri words that hold significance to them.

We also introduced a ‘Kaurna Word of the Day’, whereby teachers had the opportunity to go through the chosen words with students and explain the meanings of these words. We played Indigenous Aboriginal music, showed a number of movies, including The Sapphires in the Nunga Room throughout recess time and also a short documentary starring Stan Grant.  Antony Yates was kind enough to present to other staff members at our term Teach Meet, regarding utilising cultural perspectives in the classroom and helped to show how to do this.

We are beyond happy that, as a school cohort, we were able to celebrate the importance of Indigenous languages, art, culture and achievements from throughout time.

Ngaityalya Nakotha,

Makayla Kadow- ASETO
Link to our NAIDOC Week Video:


Parents in Education week 2017

Parents in education week

Parents in Education week promotes and highlights the importance of parents being engaged in their child’s learning and education from birth through school, and to provide practical advice for parents on how to support their child’s learning.

In 2017 Parents in Education week will be held from Monday 18 to Friday 22 September.

View the map of event locations and partnerships.

Register to participate by clicking on the session topics of your choice in the program below. All events are free.


This year a 3-day speakers program will be delivered each evening from Tuesday 19 to Thursday 21 September. The Minister for Education and Child Development will chair a panel, and keynote speakers will present at the Star Room, Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

Program session Date Speakers
An evening with Minister Susan Close and guests discussing the 21st Century child 19 September 2017
7.00pm to 8.45pm
Dr Kristin Alford
Niki Buchan
Jodie Benveniste
Unlocking your child’s potential and learning through strength-based parenting” 20 September 2017
7.00pm to 8.45pm
Professor Lea Waters
9 Ways to a Resilient Child 21 September 2017
7.00pm to 8.45pm
Dr Justin Coulson



Teresa Bruno

Senior Leader-Learner  Wellbeing

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.

White Ribbon-Breaking the Silence in Schools Program 2016-2017 case study

Please allow me to take this opportunity to share with you our schools White Ribbon journey thus far and our plans for the future.

Wirreanda Secondary School has committed to the White Ribbon “ Breaking the Silence “ in schools programs as part of the primary prevention of violence against women. The primary prevention of violence against women is an important first step to use an educational setting as a platform to raise awareness and build a culture of respectful relationships.

Below is a link to the Wirreanda Secondary School’s Breaking the Silence in Schools Program 2016-2017 case study;

This document outlines;

Our site overview and context

Our aims and policies

Our timeline, training, accreditation and events

2017 and embedment into culture

and finally

Our outcomes and our plans for the future

Wirreanda Secondary School White Ribbon Breaking the Silence in Schools Program


Jamie Maniero

Student Counsellor, White Ribbon Ambassador

Positive Behaviours and Respectful Relationships




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


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

Inclusive Education

Inclusive Education

The Inclusive Education room is located in UC14 and the area just outside the double doors. The Inclusive Education Program supports students with Numeracy, Literacy and Social Skills. The students learn using hands-on tasks and activities.

For Social Skills students work together in pairs, groups or as a class to complete projects.Students choose their own projects to complete. Some students chose to work on a recycling project, they collected bottles and cans over a two-week period and took them to Hackham Recyclers. Others chose to work together in groups to design and make educational board games and some planned and produced a meal for the students in the Disability Unit.

Gemma Upton

Inclusive Education Coordinator