Aussie Optimism programs
Aussie Optimism comprises four classroom-based programs, and one family based program. The Aussie Optimism programs are based on psychological and educational research into the risk and protective factors associated with psychological difficulties. The programs focus on competence, resilience and skill building. All programs were designed to be run by the teacher in the classroom with all children. There are ten modules that are ideally run once a week for the whole term. All programs are mapped to the new curriculum.
Feelings and Friends
Feelings and Friends is the latest addition to our suite of programs. Feelings and Friends comprises one program for students in year 1 and 2, and a separate program for students in year 3. Both programs come with a parent booklet as well as a student booklet.
The focus of the Feelings and Friends programs is on social emotional skills like recognising feelings in ourselves, and then later in others by looking and listening. Emotion recognition is a precursor for the development of empathy and plays an important part in making and maintaining friendships. Basic feelings are explored as well as basic friendship skills, and the year 3 program also has an age-appropriate module on conflict management.
Positive Thinking Skills
Developmentally appropriate for students in year 4, this program focuses on emotional competence, and cognitive skills. The program assists students to identify their feelings as being positive or negative, to express feelings and to become aware of other people’s feelings. The program increases awareness of the relationship between feelings and thoughts, and students learn strategies to cope with fears, how to relax and think rationally about situations. These skills enable children to be resilient and feel good about themselves.
Social Life Skills
Aussie Optimism – Social Life Skills teaches children how to regulate their feelings, communicate effectively and solve interpersonal problems. Activities develop students’ confidence to use skills in a variety of contexts, including resisting peer pressure.
Optimistic Thinking Skills
(for students in year 7-8)
For students aged 11-13, Aussie Optimism – Optimistic Thinking Skills teaches children optimistic ways of thinking so they can develop a healthy self-esteem. Activities help students become aware of their thoughts, the connection between how they think, feel, and behave, and how to challenge negative thoughts about themselves, so they feel happy, confident, and optimistic about the future.
Parents and Families
(family based for 11+ year olds)
This self-directed program is designed for families with a developing adolescent who is making the transition to high school and helps parents and families work together to navigate the sometimes tricky path of parenting an adolescent. The program covers issues such as searching for identity, pushing the limits, working together as a family, thinking optimistically, friendships, and the move to high school. It includes information, cartoons, tips, and activities. A CD-ROM with newsletter items, a parent presentation, and information for parent-teacher meetings is also available, to help schools promote the use of the Parent and Family program by families in the school community.
Selecting a program
Firstly, identify the program that is developmentally appropriate for your students. For example, if your students are in year 4, the Positive Thinking Skills Program is most appropriate.
Secondly, consider the needs of your students. If you are teaching years 7 or 8 and have noticed that your students are making a lot of negative comments about themselves, start with Optimistic Thinking Skills. If social skills development is in greater need, start with Social Life Skills.