Teaching our Students to ‘Bounce Back’

It is often said that the lessons learnt when we are children can help set the scene for how we deal with life’s challenges as adults. Lessons that will give us skills to achieve our very best, become resilient and to bounce back.

We know that being resilient helps us to bounce back from negative life events and that ‘increasing resilience among children can help support positive mental health during childhood and later in life’ (Be You). Resilient children are better able to manage the challenges of life such as the events we have all experienced this year with the bush fires and more recently the Covid-19 pandemic. We have all had to navigate these uncertain times and as we now move out of this lockdown and bounce back to our usual lives, we can reflect on the things that have helped us through.

Experts suggest that resilience is something we can learn and it is essential for our children to have the opportunity to build resilience and manage themselves when difficult times arise. Our children need the skills to manage and respond to these events and emotions, in a healthy and positive way that will support their development and ability to bounce back. Parents, extended family, friends and teachers all play an important role in helping our children learn and develop these life skills. We know that when we teach our children how to recognise their feelings, and how to deal with emotions, we teach them essential skills that underpin the development of resilience and support them on their journey for success in life.

Here at Cedars we teach these skills through a program called Second Steps. This program is taught by the Classroom Teacher to develop social and emotional skills for all students from Prep to Year 6. The program is designed to teach children to develop their knowledge, understanding and self-management skills and thereby strengthen their ability to bounce back during challenging times. The program follows the skills of how to show empathy, manage emotions, and solve problems. In Second Steps we focus on the four self-regulation skills that children need in order to be successful learners and develop resilience. These skills include focusing attention, listening, using self-talk, and being assertive; skills that are necessary for positive wellbeing to help our children in their life’s journey.

All of our students are enthusiastically engaged each week in the Second Steps Program and as you can see from their comments, they already recognise the benefit of learning these skills that will equip them for now and into the future.

Year 5 Students:

“I like how the videos show different emotional responses and how they can be demonstrated.”

“I like Second Steps because it helps me to understand emotions and how to control them in hard times.”

“I like that the learning is applicable in everyday life.”

“I like figuring out how to improve my social skills.”

Kindergarten Students:

“I like them because they teach me about how people feel and about how I feel.”

“I like that we learn how to do belly breathing.”

“I like it when we learn about calming down.”