Life Skills

 

Students have been enjoying their Life Skills lessons on Mondays. Here is a report from the Life Skills teacher Miss Jess:

The Life Skills Group programs, Healthy Skills for Life (K-4 students) and Tools for Transition (Years 5 and 6) have commenced! The students and teachers could not be more excited!  The program is a curriculum based Health and Physical Education and Social Emotional Learning program.  Each week Life Skills teachers facilitate classes aligning lifelong value based skills, fundamental movements, and positive psychology through various games, breathing techniques, guided stories and relaxation. 

We are happy to be working with you, your child and the school community to support, inspire, and grow happy, healthy, and well-adjusted kids and families. 

 

 

Focus value for Week 1:  

Respect

 

SELF REGULATION AND RESPECT

K - Year 4

Excitement was felt throughout the room as students entered to participate in the first week of

the Healthy Skills for Life program this week. Students learnt breathing exercises which help in

calming the mind, building resilience and developing self-regulation. Students were able to

practise specialised movements and skills in games and breath work that are especially

designed to calm the nervous system, foster positive relationships and teach problem solving

skills. By working in teams, all levels utilised various strategies to complete different tasks, all

the while understanding that there was no winner or loser, but what mattered was how well the

combination of players on the team worked together. By participating in physical activities

designed to enhance fitness, students came out with a greater understanding of the impact

regular participation can have on health and wellbeing. All students had fun, calmed their

bodies, and learnt the value of respect through fun games and activities.

Parents/Carers : Ask your child to show you the mindfulness practice or breathing activity they

learnt this week and how it could help them.

Family self-care tip : Make time for a game at least once a week. Try to be fully present while

playing that game.

 

Years 5 & 6

This week, students and teachers showed excitement about starting their Life Skills

Group program: ‘Tools for Transition'. It is a curriculum based Health and Physical

Education and Social and Emotional Learning program that aligns with the Teaching

Standards. Each week specialised Life Skills teachers will guide students and teachers

through classes that promote understanding of lifelong values, fundamental

movements, and positive psychology through a range of discussions, games, breathing

exercises, and guided relaxations.

Life Skills Group invites you to follow the journey through the weekly newsletter updates

and even practise some of the activities with your child at home! There will be updates

on the topics and tools learnt, as well as weekly tips on ways to introduce your family to

self-care. We can assure you it will be fun and a great way to spend a few minutes

extra with your family.

Today in the Tools for Transition program students were introduced to mindfulness (a

practice that trains the brain to slow down and process sensory data) and how they

can use it as a tool to self regulate and increase their ability to be more respectful in

their actions. One of the best ways to practise mindfulness is through deep belly

breathing, or moments of awareness in ‘mindful bodies,' as they are referred to in the

Tools for Transition program. Focusing on the breath has been shown to help the body

return to a state of calm because it aids in slowing the heart rate, lowering blood

pressure, and sharpening focus. Increased focus comes from increasing the functioning

that takes place in the frontal lobes or prefrontal cortex, this leads to an increase in

self-regulation (the ability to manage the emotions that come from upsetting situations

and life's disappointments).

The students had the opportunity to share their thoughts on why learning mindfulness

tools will be beneficial for our minds and bodies. They recognised it as, "relaxing,

calming and helpful when you are stressed or worried". Students learnt a new breath

technique and became aware of where breath is felt in the body. The breathing

exercises are designed to show students how the breath helps to regulate the body

and that each of us has more control over our bodies than we think! Controlled

breathing also calms the body and mind and decreases the anxiety that sends our

amygdala into fight, flight, or freeze mode. Regular practise of the tools learnt in the

Tools for Transition program helps to prime the brain to be more reflective and less

reactive. Over time, this strengthens neural pathways and connections and mindful

awareness moves from being a temporary state to a long-term trait.

The games students will engage in each week help to reinforce the value of the week

in a fun way. The games are non-competitive and promote social skills, critical thinking,

physical movement and creativity. Additionally, students practised applying effective

communication in relationships. Students demonstrated the importance of

communicating confidently in a variety of situations by applying movement skills that

require communication, cooperation, decision making and observation of rules.

Parents/Carers: Ask your child why it is important to have self-regulation.

Family self-care tip: Give at least one compliment to your family members.

 

 

Focus value for Week 2:

Honesty

 

COMMUNICATION AND HONESTY

 

K - Year 4

At Life Skills Group, we believe that mindful listening and communication are important areas of

growth and development in children. In week two, Life Skills teachers reviewed the important

value of honesty through the focus of mindful listening. Students learnt how to listen mindfully

by concentrating on specific sounds. They practised staying very still and quiet while they

listened to a soothing sound. This listening activity helped students understand that there is

always noise around us, but we can actually train our brain to focus on one sound at a time.

Additionally, students began to explore listening to their own bodies. By using their breath to

stay focused students learnt how to become aware of how they actually feel physically and

emotionally. Through awareness we begin to understand what may be creating our feelings.

Students discovered how concentration helps develop a focused mind and a feeling of calm.

They also learnt how these skills of focused attention could be applied in their lives. The games

this week taught students how to be honest with themselves and be an honest participant of a

team. Students warmed up their bodies using some of the fundamental movement skills (for

example, leaping). They were encouraged to move mindfully by paying close attention to their

bodies.

Parents/Carers: Ask your child to show you the mindfulness/breathing activity they participated

in this week and how or when it could help us. Reinforcement is the key.

Family self-care tip : Take a walk in nature, being mindful of the sounds around you.

 

Years 5 & 6

This week in the Tools for Transition program, students were taught the importance of

honest communication and mindful listening. Throughout the lesson, students had the

opportunity to discuss and experience why honesty is important with their class and

were prompted to ‘speak up' and increase their contribution in a range of

co-operative situations.

Additionally, students practised mindful listening by listening very carefully to a specific

sound. After, the class was able to share their experiences and discuss why listening

mindfully is so important in our lives. Students also increased their awareness on how

mindful listening can also expand academic, athletic and creative success. Throughout

the game this week, students were prompted to increase their focus, concentration,

coordination and communication.

Parents/Carers: Ask your child why it is important to be honest in their communication,

especially during times of transition.

Family self-care tip: Take a walk with your child and pay attention to all the sounds

around you. When you are walking try and label each sound in your mind. For example,

if you hear a bird, say to yourself, "bird."

 

 

 

Focus value for Week 3:

TW

 

TEAMWORK and BEING A TEAM PLAYER

 

K - Year 4

Being mindful of the breath and using it to keep us in the present moment was taught to all of

our students this week. This technique cultivates awareness of self and others and a strong

aptitude for curiosity and learning. Students were given the opportunity to discuss different ways

they could work as an individual within a team and collectively as a team in order to successfully

participate in cooperative class games. Sportsmanship can show a lot about our character.

When children learn good sportsmanship and how to collaborate in a healthy way with peers

they can begin to demonstrate winning and losing gracefully. With increased opportunities to

practise partner work and teamwork students are beginning to cultivate positive relationships

with class members they might not usually work with. The activities aligned with this week's

value and explored effective communication of ideas, listening to one another, encouraging

each other, sharing responsibilities and making decisions that would benefit the whole team.

Through engaging games and incorporating fundamental movements, students were able to put

their ideas into practice!

Children demonstrated cooperation by working together and being really helpful team players.

Students gave examples of how we can cooperate in the classroom, home and playground. By

being an active participant in the class, children were able to recognise how much can be

achieved when working with others in positive ways.

Parents/carers : Ask your child to demonstrate the breath/mindfulness practice they learnt this

week or a movement they enjoyed.

Family self-care tip : Turn off all technology for at least 20 minutes and have a meaningful

conversation.

 

Years 5 & 6

This week in the Tools for Transition program students explored the importance of

teamwork especially during times of change. Students were encouraged to be mindful

this week by learning to listen to their own bodies. Body awareness helps students

identify how they are feeling mentally, emotionally and physically. Increasing body

awareness can be particularly useful for students during times of change because

when they can clearly notice when they are starting to feel tense, agitated or over

excited, they can then better control how they choose to respond to the arising

feelings.

In this week's games, students explored being inclusive and cooperating. Cooperating

and being included brings students the comforting feeling of belonging and feeling

important and valued. Learning how to be inclusive and how it feels was an important

focus this week and students explored this through games that combined a fun mixture

of movements and challenges. Students were prompted to ask and respond to

question about teamwork and the different teams they were apart of. Throughout the

lesson, students were guided to continually listen to their body and notice if they were

feeling over-excited or if they were pushing their bodies too far. This allowed them to

take responsibility for their own actions and cooperate with their team to their full and

unique capacity.

Parent/Carers: Ask your child about why body awareness is important and what they

achieved through including others and being a team player.

Family self-care tip: Have a family game night and play together!

 

Focus value for Week 4:

 
 
CARE

 

 
MANAGING BIG EMOTIONS and CARING
 
 

K - Year 4
This week in Healthy Skills for Life students were taught about managing big emotions, and how
to be caring towards ourselves and others. When we are born, we do not have skills to control
our feelings, they are developed and taught through various people and environments. All
emotions are part of being human and our aim is not to push our anger away, but rather
understand it and deal with it. When children are able to respond to emotions in a healthy way,
they can begin to manage the way they feel and learn to self-regulate. This sets students up to
exhibit positive behaviour, be caring towards themselves and others, develop empathy and build
and enhance great relationships.
This week students learnt to manage emotions through a mindfulness technique which trains
the brain to rest and focus on a single word. When used in the classroom on a daily basis, this
technique can reduce emotional reactions.
Throughout the lesson, students practised movements to calm the body and develop awareness
and control. They warmed up their bodies using some of the fundamental movement skills ( for
example, hopping). Students practised doing this mindfully by bringing awareness and focus to
their own bodies.
Parents/carers: Talk to your child about what makes him/her angry and share your excitement
to learn what breath could help us manage our big emotions in a positive way.
Family self-care tip: If you find yourself in a disagreement with someone in your household,
stop and see if you could use your breath to diffuse your upset and approach the situation
differently or from a non-reactionary stance.

 

Years 5 & 6

This week in Tools for Transition, students practised managing big emotions through learning why and how we can be caring to ourselves and others. They discussed types of big emotions that come up during times of change and transition and explored strategies for managing difficult emotions such as anger and anxiety. Many times our emotions cause physical symptoms in our bodies and it is important to know the difference. Students discussed how anxiety can be noticed within. Sensations of tummy aches, headaches or low energy or mood can sometimes be signs of a big emotion.  Students were taught a gentle and calming mindfulness exercise that helps to slow the body and mind down and to help the body relax. This practice is one that can reduce anger from escalating and is also a great tool for managing worry and fear.  In this week's games, students explored how caring for yourself and others and ‘linking up' can help you to transition through a game or change in your life. The students were encouraged to be and supportive and respectful of each other as they attempted to move through the game.
Parents/carers: Ask your child to suggest some ways that they will manage big emotions such as anger or anxiety in the future.
Family self-care tip:  Discuss situations/transitions that are regularly challenging for your child and family and plan how you can all manage them in the future.

 

Focus value for Week 5:

resilience

 

POSITIVE SELF TALK, RESILIENCE and PERSEVERANCE

K - Year 4

This week students learnt about self-talk. What is self-talk? What impact does it have on us both emotionally and physiologically? How can we become more aware of what we are or are not saying to ourselves? It's easy to feel as though we are not good enough, didn't do well enough on a test or people are better than us at sport. In the Life Skills Group lesson this week, students were taught how to use positive self-talk in their mindfulness/breathwork technique. Students learnt about how their minds can be filled with ‘ANTS' – Automatic Negative Thoughts. This means if we are finding something challenging our brain will automatically think - I'm not good enough… or I'm never going to get this right. By being mindful of these thoughts we can first recognise when they happen and then we can help our brain to change them into more positive and helpful thoughts, which we call ‘PETS' – Positive Emotional Thoughts. The more we practise noticing our negative thoughts and training our mind to convert them to positive thoughts, the stronger our brain gets, and the happier our body becomes. The values of perseverance and resilience were also embedded in this lesson through fun and interactive activities and games. Students were encouraged to consider how our thoughts strongly influence our ability to persevere when a task gets challenging. Students were able to experience first hand how practicing positive self-talk helps alleviate stress and improve well-being. Positive self-talk makes us better at everything we do; from learning sports to acquiring new skills. 

Parent/Carer: Ask your child what positive self-talk they will use when they feel that they are not understanding or picking up a skill or subject fast enough. Encourage your child to turn an ANT (Automatic negative thought) into a PET (Positive emotional thought). Eg : " I did so bad in that test, I am never going to be good at maths" turn this into " I tried my best, I am improving and next time I will do better." 

Family self-care tip : Notice the voice inside your head and try to be aware of it from the moment you wake up. Can you catch yourself when you begin to think negatively and turn it into positive self-talk.  

 

Years 5 & 6  

This week in Tools for Transition, students practised positive self-talk and learnt how to recognise and reframe negative self-talk. Life Skills

 Group believes that students should have a strong understanding of how our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs influence our feelings, 

emotions and behaviour. In this lesson, students were taught that through positive thinking we can alter negative self-talk. Managing our

self-talk is actually a life skill that we need to learn and practise. Just like learning a new maths skill or sports skill, managing our self- talk

takes time and effort. Mindfulness is a practice that is strongly linked to positive self-talk and positive feelings towards the self and

others and in this week's mindfulness practice students learnt a simple strategy to build their positive self talk skills. Students then had the 

chance to describe how positive-thinking assists in developing and maintaining positive relationships. Through various games and 

exercises this week, students put their positive thinking into practise and used their self-talk to reach a common goal. It is truly amazing to 

see students learning to be responsible for their own positive thinking and how much their resilience, perseverance and dedication towards 

a task can build when they do! 

Parents/Carers : Ask your child if they can identify a consistent negative thought that appears in their mind. Then ask what positive 

thinking they can use to replace that thought. 

Family self-care tip: Have your child teach your family what to do when feeling upset or overwhelmed. (Stop, take a few deep breaths and

 say something good to yourself.)

 

Focus value for Week 6:

 
 
Confidence

 

K - Year 4

Creativity and confidence

This week in the program, students increased their confidence through creation and imagination. Students learnt about what confidence is and how they can show confidence in their bodies by the way they sit and stand.

The mindfulness technique this week was mindful sensations. Students learnt about what a sensation is and how to notice one in the body (for example: noticing butterflies when you are nervous). Noticing sensations in the body helps us to understand how we are feeling and is a great way to calm us down and help us train our brain to be focused. When we sit still and just focus on the sensations we can feel in our body we are not thinking about the past or the present.

Classes developed their gross motor skills by practising some of the fundamental movement skills (for example, side galloping) during a fun and interactive warm up. While moving around the room students were encouraged to move calmly and slowly showing an awareness of their own body. The team games in this lesson encouraged the application of critical and creative thinking processes in order to generate and assess solutions to movement challenges.

Parents/Carers: Ask your child to tell you how they felt at the end of their Life Skills lesson or what their favourite part was. Perhaps ask your child why it is important to have confidence.

Family self-care tip: encourage family members to show a ‘confident' body by sitting up tall, rolling their shoulders back and improving their posture.

 

Years 5 & 6

Self Belief and Confidence  

Confidence is when someone feels good about themselves and their abilities. For example, someone who is very good at playing soccer would feel confident in his or her ability to kick a ball. When people are confident within themselves, it means they don't just feel good about what they can do but they feel good about who they are and how they act in the world. This week, in Tools for Transition we aimed to cultivate self-esteem . It is important for all students to believe in themselves and know what they do well. In Life Skills we do this through a combination of meaningful discussions and mindfulness activities which encourages students to increase their awareness. Students are then given the opportunity to put it into practise through challenging and engaging activities.

Parents/Carer: Ask your child how they increased their confidence today and how did it feel?

Family self-care tip: To build confidence try something new together as a family!  Practise encouraging each other and believing in yourself.