for the better wellbeing, health and learning of every child
How can schools best help children thrive? Can we reimagine beyond the limiting notion that the primary task of schools is academic achievement? A new discussion paper outlines five key principles for elevating health and wellbeing in Australian schools. We hope you will think and talk about this with us.
Researchers and practitioners across disciplines have been connecting the dots between children’s wellbeing, health, and learning outcomes long before the COVID-19 pandemic. Future-oriented and child-focused experts in education and health understand that schools hold great potential to optimise these connections, providing better and more equitable futures for all Australians. But how to do so has been missing the mark in Australian schools.
We suggest shifting the core purpose of school from primarily focusing on academic intelligence to equally focusing on learning, wellbeing, and health for optimised whole child development. This change would enable schools to be multi-opportunity communities designed to build a healthy foundation for lifelong success.
Five key principles support our vision and are outlined in greater detail in the discussion paper:
- A whole child and whole school approach (organising principle)
- Co-designed, evidence-based and flexible learning and wellbeing approaches
- Health and wellbeing as essential 21st century skills
- Building an engaging culture of health, wellbeing and learning in school
- Relationships and partnerships between services, families and schools in every community
We now have the chance to re-envisage what schools could be; focusing on the whole child’s health, wellbeing and learning; and giving every child the whole school experience they deserve for healthy childhood development and lifelong flourishing. We can all be involved in this conversation, and in actualising this vision.
Access the ‘Reinventing Australian Schools’ discussion paper
Prof. Pasi Sahlberg
Prof. Sharon Goldfeld
Assoc. Prof. Jon Quach
The Health, Wellbeing and Learning in Schools Project is a partnership of the Faculty of Education at Southern Cross University, the Centre for Community Child Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, and The Melbourne University Graduate School of Education.