Positive psychology in a pandemic

It was wonderful to welcome back our Senior School students to Term 3, and to observe them gather in spaces and places across the School, enjoying each other’s company and making the most of being together. Whilst it is of course disappointing that we have quickly moved into remote learning once again, I cannot commend our students enough for the calm and mature way in which they, with the support of their teachers, have transitioned into life at home in Melbourne’s fifth lockdown.

In fact, as we were making our preparations, some students shared with me their perceived benefits of a short period of learning at home, which ranged from being able to manage their time with much more independence and autonomy, to rolling out of bed five minutes before their first class! All agreed though that they are looking forward to a swift return to school, and the Senior School staff and I are looking forward to welcoming them back.

Carey Community Day
In the final week of Term 2, our Senior School came together to celebrate our first Carey Community Day, which included a series of activities designed to support and bolster our students’ coping skills and physical and mental health, as well as the positive connections within and the culture of our Senior School community. This day enabled our students to hear from a range of experts, both guests and Senior School staff, and to spend time sharing with their Mentors and other Carey leaders their hopes and aspirations for themselves as individuals and, in some year levels, for our School in the years ahead.

Positive Psychology for the COVID context
Whilst this pandemic has taught us that our young people are oftentimes incredibly resilient and flexible, there is no doubt that untold pressure on individuals caused by the COVID response (including repeated school closures) has led to widespread deterioration of public mental health, including that of our adolescents. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, research from the last 12 to 18 months is ‘beginning to reveal that positive psychology has a significant role to play in helping the general public cope (i.e., buffer against distress and bolster mental health) with COVID-19 and grow through this crisis (i.e., build new capacities)’ (Waters et. al., 2020, ‘Positive psychology in a pandemic: buffering, bolstering, and building mental health’).

We continue to respond to our ever-changing COVID context with our fully integrated Positive Learner Attributes as our underpinning positive psychology framework. Through academic lessons, House sessions and other community gatherings and activities, we remain focussed on taking the time to support our Senior School students to develop knowledge, skills, capabilities and practices to support their growth and wellbeing in this challenging time. We look forward to continuing to focus on this important work throughout the course of Semester 2 and beyond.

Of course, if you have any concerns, please reach out to your child’s House staff or a member of the Student Development Team. I hope that you and your family remain safe, and look forward to connecting with you face to face soon.

Kellie Lyneham
Head of Senior School

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