The word ‘resilience’ is used to describe the capacity people have to cope, learn and thrive in the face of change, challenge or adversity. Some children and young people find it harder than others to cope with the challenges they face in life. However, all children and young people develop coping strategies to help them deal with stress and challenge.
There are things that families and schools can do to help build the resilience of children and young people, and to help them to develop positive coping strategies.
What are the key skills for resilience?
Self-awareness– understanding emotions and needs and being able to communicate them to others
Self-control– managing anger and anxiety and the expression of emotions
Social awareness– being aware of the needs and feelings of others, and building the capacity to respect those with different views or beliefs
Social management– developing the skills and confidence to talk and mix with other children and adults, and to work and play well with others
Collaborative teaching strategies where students get to work with each other
Why is feeling connected to school important?
Children and young people who feel cared for by people at their school and feel connected to learning are more likely to be motivated to work hard and to believe that they can succeed at learning. They are also more likely to do well in their learning.
Children and young people who feel connected to school and believe in the value of getting a good education are less likely to use alcohol or other drugs in a harmful way, to be violent or get into fights, are less likely to experience mental health problems like depression or anxiety and less likely to begin sexual relationships at an early age.
What is Building Resilience?
Building Resilience is based on research which highlights the importance of taking a multi-dimensional school-wide approach to building resilience. It assists schools to:
Lead activity across the school, orchestrating a comprehensive approach
Teach social and emotional skills to all students across all year levels
Support those young people identified as needing additional assistance
Refer those in need to appropriate services
Through addressing each of these components, children and young people will be supported to develop the skills they need to become balanced, happy adults.
The Building Resilience Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) Materials A key component of Building Resilience is a suite of new SEL materials, available for all Victorian schools for year levels from Prep to 12. These materials are designed to support young people to develop key life skills, such as relationship building, help-seeking, and decision making, and help them to cope with the challenges around a range of complex issues such as relationships, emotions and stress. The materials cover six topics:
Parents and carers can support their children by talking at home about some of the ideas presented in the materials.
What can parents and carers do to support resilience building?
Establish a safe and supportive environment
Set clear rules and boundaries requiring respect and cooperation