Newland College Gets Set to Flourish

by Sophy Haig

Well-being – Positive Education – Flourishing: these phrases are used by many working in education today, to try and encapsulate how a school is able to promote that most esoteric yet essential of states: happiness.

Aristotle stated that, ‘educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all’. Embedded throughout our curriculum at Newland College, our emphasis on well-being draws on a growing body of research that shows a connection between well-being and happiness on the one hand, and a school’s ability to develop a culture where students are able to flourish.

Our college programme owes a debt to research undertaken by one of the world’s most influential psychologists Martin Seligman, who in 2011 gave a talk at The RSA calling for the “reinvention” of education. This emphasis on well-being and positive psychology has already become prevalent in many great schools around the world; Geelong Grammar School in Australia and Wellington College in the UK are among those leading the way.

At Newland College, we are committed to exploring six well-being domains with our learning communities, as research suggests these areas will support the academic aspirations of our students:

  1. The Positive Relationships domain explores the importance of connectedness and strong relationships for wellbeing
  2. The Positive Emotion domain aims to enable students and staff to develop a stronger understanding of their emotions and those of others
  3. The Positive Health domain focuses on supporting students and staff to develop sustainable habits for optimal physical and psychological health
  4. The Positive Engagement domain helps students and staff to experience complete immersion in activities through understanding the nature of engagement, the pathways to it, and the impact it has on individual wellbeing
  5. The
 Positive Accomplishment domain aims to develop individual potential through striving for and achieving meaningful outcomes
  6. The Positive Purpose domain explores understanding, believing in, and serving something greater than the self and deliberately engaging in activities for the benefit of others

As well as embedding these domains into every area of College life, we also plan to run programmes for parents to gain a better understanding of how we help our students flourish and even how a clearer understanding of this emerging area of educational thinking might translate to the home.

A little reminder of just how esoteric happiness is, by the cartoonist Michael Leunig:

Jules Parkin is a member of the European Council of International Schools (ECIS) Flourishing Schools Committee and is committed to well-being among students, teachers and parents.

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