The good news is that most Australian children experience good mental health. Children also benefit when schools, parents and families focus on improving mental health and wellbeing. This attention improves learning outcomes in classrooms.
KidsMatter Primary is a national initiative for primary schools that assists school leaders and teachers to guide and sustain children’s mental health and wellbeing.
The initiative was developed collaboratively by the Principals Australia Institute, the Australian Psychological Society and beyondblue, with funding from the Australian Government Department of Health.
Beginning as a pilot in 2006, KidsMatter Primary is being implemented in government, Catholic and Independent schools. Today over 2,600 schools are involved in KidsMatter Primary, and the numbers are growing.
School staff work on four areas in KidsMatter Primary to improve the mental health and wellbeing of children and minimise risk factors. The four areas or components are:
1. Building a positive school community
2. Social and emotional learning for students
3. Working with parents and carers
4. Helping children with mental health difficulties
Schools implement KidsMatter Primary through flexible delivery and progression through the four components. Colleagues participate in professional learning sessions that take a whole-school approach to understanding and strengthening mental health and wellbeing in children.
“When we build up the wellbeing of students, there are great results in student behaviour and also in their ability to learn”, Suzanne Curyer, Executive Director of Programs, Principals Australia Institute, said. “We know that KidsMatter Primary makes a difference to the ways teachers support the wellbeing of their students.”
Resources for schools
A wide range of free resources assist schools at every stage of implementation of KidsMatter. The online KidsMatter Primary portal increases the flexibility of delivery, and can be used in different contexts. As Denise Foggo, Coordinator of KidsMatter at Glen Huon Primary School in Tasmania says: “I love KidsMatter and think that it is a very valuable addition to any school. We use the portal to ‘catch up’ new staff. We can select the most significant parts from each component and direct staff to specific slides from the three components we covered and they interact with the Portal. They can learn at their own pace and do this as part of their induction.”
Learn more about KidsMatter
KidsMatter Primary offers a range of professional learning events across Australia. You’ll find events on the calendar on the website.
If your school would like to find out more about KidsMatter Primary, visit the website:
Create a guest log-in and explore the KidsMatter Primary portal: https://primary.portal.kidsmatter.edu.au/