Frasers Property and Smiling Mind work to improve student mental health
- 380+ local primary school students to take part in the program
- Parents and teachers to receive mindfulness education training for free
MELBOURNE, SEPTEMBER 2018
St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School has become the latest school to benefit from a mindfulness program that aims to improve the long-term mental health of students.
The Catholic primary school, based in Noble Park, Victoria, has been selected by not-for-profit education and mindfulness organisation Smiling Mind to be the latest beneficiary of an opportunity that offers the mindfulness program to Australian schools for free.
The offer has been made possible by a three-year charitable partnership between Smiling Mind and Frasers Property Australia, which aims to reach 90 schools and bring the benefits of mindfulness to an extra 45,000 Australian children.
“We are really excited to start working with the St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School community and help give these children the tools they will need to build preventative mental health approaches for their future,” says Smiling Mind Chief Executive Officer Dr Addie Wootten.
“With one in four secondary students and one in seven primary students suffering from a diagnosed mental illness each year, it’s vital that we, as a community, do everything we can to take a proactive approach to preventing this health issue into the future.”
St Anthony’s encourages students to be people of action who go forth and contribute to the world with strong and warm hearts. At the very heart of St Anthony’s is a desire for the full flourishing of each student, across religious, physical, cognitive, emotional and social domains. Students are encouraged to grow in virtue and to embrace a view of themselves and the world that leads to peace, justice, and the prospering of the whole of creation.
Dr Wootten says some of the benefits of introducing mindfulness into schools can include:
- Managing stress
- Developing emotional intelligence
- Enhancing creativity
- Enhancing decision making and problem-solving skills
- A sense of calm, clarity and contentment
Dr Wootten says that teachers, and also parents, are positively impacted by students enrolling in the program.
“Teachers learn the skills they need to guide their students through the program and they can apply the techniques to manage their own stress. We also conduct a workshop for parents in each of the school communities we work in so that they can learn about mindfulness, support their children and also learn the techniques themselves,” says Dr Wootten.
Dr Wootten says the program, with guided meditations and mindfulness activities available via the Smiling Mind app, is tailored to each year level and teachers receive support from the organisation over the whole school year to help introduce mindfulness into the classroom.
Principal Patrika Rowley says the school is grateful to be offered access to the valuable program at no cost to the school.
“We know from other schools that have adopted the Smiling Mind program just how beneficial it is. It is so encouraging that we have been given the chance to offer this to our own school community. I really hope all the students, teachers and parents get on board and learn these valuable techniques,” says Ms Rowley.
More than 380 students and 47 teachers and support staff will take part in the Smiling Mind program at the school.
Rod Fehring, Chief Executive Officer of Frasers Property Australia, says Frasers Property not only looks at the physical environment people want to live in but all the other factors such as lifestyle, physical and mental health that contribute to overall wellbeing.
Frasers Property’s donation of $700,000 over three years – provided via the Frasers Property Foundation – will enable Smiling Mind to offer the Smiling Mind professional learning program to educators of 30 schools each year for the next three years. St Anthony’s Catholic Primary School is one of 30 schools planned to benefit this year from the incredible contribution to support Smiling Mind’s education offering in Australia.
“Our charitable partnership with Smiling Mind is a great opportunity for Frasers Property to make a contribution to creating healthy communities in Australia and it supports our goal of creating communities where people feel truly connected. This is one way we can make a positive long-term impact,” says Mr Fehring.