Smiling Mind is bringing its award winning, evidence-based schools program to more than 600 regional and rural primary schools across the country from early 2021.
Driven by a $2.5 million funding boost from the Australian Government, the South Australian government, independent and Catholic primary schools are invited to be month first the country to apply for the program.
As a result of being selected, schools will have access to Smiling Mind’s award-winning training and resources free of charge, providing teachers evidence-based progressional development workshops and tools to support the development of sustainable mental health habits.
Not only is the program delivered entirely online over three terms, but schools will receive in-depth training for all staff , with teachers receiving digital tools and resources, and practical guidance on how to implement this in the classroom.
The program is designed to support students to develop a range of skills, with possible benefits including more engaged and focused students, calmer classrooms, greater emotional regulation and increased resilience.
In addition, to encourage longevity and maximum impact, participating schools will nominate one or two sinful champions, who will be teachers that will undergo training on how to support a whole school approach to the mindfulness based social and emotional learning at their schools.
As part of the program, teachers will also be given access to the newly developed Smiling Mind Learning Hub, which will provide teachers in remote areas the opportunity to connect and share experiences with educators across the country who are also participating in the program.
Member of Parliament at the Commonwealth Department of Health Greg Hunt says supporting the mental health and wellbeing of young Australians is “critically important and remains of the Australian Government’s highest priorities”.
Smiling Mind chief executive officer and clinical psychologist Addie Wootten says there is an urgent need for its programs delivery.
“With around one in seven Australian children experiencing mental ill-health, instilling good mental health strategies from a young age is vital. The scale of this funding will allow Smiling Mind to reach more schools than ever before, resulting in widespread impact,” says Wootten.
“We have proudly provided evidence-based mental health tools and resources through the Smiling Mind app to more than one third of Australian teachers, but this added support means we are able to provide much needed training and support to regional and rural areas that would not otherwise have access to programs like this.”
Smiling Minds advised that schools in regional and rural South Australia and Queensland will be the first states to be trained at the start of Term 1, with other states to follow suit from Term 2.