Yesterday we hit the ground running as we celebrated the tenth R U OK?Day across the country. R U OK?Day is a national day of action dedicated to reminding everyone that every day’s the day to ask “Are you OK?” and support those struggling with life. As the R U OK? School Partner, R U OK?Day is about inspiring school students to make a difference by having meaningful conversations with friends and family, and talking to a trusted adult if they or someone in their life needs help.
This year, in the lead up to their tenth national day of action R U OK?Day on Thursday 13 September, suicide prevention charity R U OK? are on an epic cross-country tour to show Australia every day is R U OK?Day.
We sat down with Katherine Newton, Campaign Director R U OK?, to discuss why this is a message for everyone no matter their age or location....
As teachers we often get stuck. The busyness of teaching, the marking, administration and preparation can often leave you feeling as if your creativity has run dry and you are at a loss for a new, engaging way to teach a concept. I have found this especially to be the case when I have had to develop lessons about ‘big’ issues such as bullying, choices, healthy relationships and cyber safety. These are conceptual, sometimes abstract, life topics; topics very different to the more concrete maths and sciences. So I'm always looking for innovative and creative ways to teach these topics, and practical resources to support this.
Something happens when we go to school. Yes, we learn to read, we learn to write, to count, we learn about history, geography, languages, how our world works - all wondrous, valuable things.
We also learn, very quickly, that learning is measured and should be tested, constantly. We learn that data drives schools and policies, and that one’s worth is often tied up in those final results. And in that, we lose our sense of play, of discovery, of creativity. Ken Robinson, in his seminal Ted Talk Do Schools Kill Creativity?, argues that our schooling systems are "educating people out of their creative capacities" and that we are not only growing out of our creativity, but "we get educated out of it’".
Alongside this, schools are becoming increasingly aware of the need to nurture and implement wellbeing programs that foster agency, resilience and self-management strategies. When children are a part of a system, however, how can we do this?
Transitions are a normal part of development, and will be experienced by all children at some point in their lives. Some transitions are planned, others are sudden and unexpected. And as we head into the new school year, most kids will be preparing for some kind of transition, whether that be the start of kindergarten, the transition to high school, adjustment to a new year level, or the move to a new school.