Telerah Public Schoolis a progressive public school offering education for Preschool to Year 6 students, located in the Maitland suburb of Telarah. At Telarah Public School the mission is to provide children with a love of learning, a pride in their achievement and a respect for themselves and others.
Their enrolment continues to establish our Social and Emotional program as the most effective intervention to foster children’s social and emotional wellbeing. We continue to work incredibly hard to produce innovative programs and resources that are tried, tested and loved in classrooms, clinics and lounge rooms around the globe.
About Telerah Public School
Telerah Public School sits within the beautiful township of Maitland, NSW. There are approximately 510 students from Kindergarten to Year 6. There is an Aboriginal Resource Centre and an Early Intervention Child Support Unit within the school grounds which caters for children with learning difficulties at the preschool level. Telera Public School is committed to enhancing academic and extra-curricular learning for each child within a safe, and positive learning environment.
Social and Emotional Learning
Equally with their commitment to academic development and a safe and nurturing learning environment Telerah Public School has demonstrated a clear commitment to the Social and Emotional Learning of their students. We were impressed with the passion and commitment the school has for “looking beyond” the academic and extra-curricular program and applying learning to living.
About The Best of Friends Program™ and the School.
The implementation of The Best of Friends™ program will take place progressively and will be closely supported by the program author and our Educational Developmental Psychologist Dr. Kimberley O’Brien.
Participants will receive a copy of the exclusive workbook developed by Quirky Kid. Facilitators and teachers will have access to a series of manuals and regular supervision as required.
Interested in offering ‘The Best of Friends™’ program at your school?
Currently, the program is available to a limited number of schools and organisations. The BoF program has a comprehensive implementation, evaluation and monitoring plan and we are keen to identify partners committed to SEL implementation and evaluation.
Schools can choose from a target (small group) or universal (classroom) format. We will provide all the implementation assistance required, including training, supervision, and support for key staff members.
Leading Australian child psychologist Dr Kimberley O’Brien and the team at Quirky Kid Clinic have launched a social emotional learning (SEL) program for use in schools and clinics.
‘The Best of Friends’™ program was developed in response to increasing demand at schools and the Quirky Kid Clinics to address social and emotional challenges that children experience.
This manualised program has been running since October last year at the Quirky Kid Clinics and is soon to be rolled out at St Catherine’s School in Sydney. It is an innovative resource that helps children to gain the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, show empathy for others, develop and maintain friendships and make good decisions.
Dr O’Brien said SEL opportunities in school settings significantly increase student outcomes both academically and in life.
‘The Best of Friends’™ program engages children with stories, illustrations and interactive activities to help children overcome social and emotional issues in a peer group setting,” said Dr O’Brien.
The program draws on decades of clinical and school experience and extensive research and is presented in a concise format to facilitate SEL for children aged 7 to 11 years.
Publisher of ‘The Best of Friends’™ and co-founder of the Quirky Kid Clinic, Leonardo Rocker said the program integrates with the Australian Curriculum and was shortlisted for the Educational Publishing Awards Australia 2015 and received a special commendation.
The Quirky Kid Clinic has been offering workshops throughout Australia for over 8 years.
How many times do you have to ask your fourteen year old to get started on their homework?
How many funky old sandwiches have you retrieved from the bottom of your ten year olds’ school bag?
Has your preschooler ever been ready to leave when you are?
Organising your kids can be trying but helping them to develop these skills for themselves will make your life and theirs much easier. As with all aspects of parenting, our expectations of our children need to be developmentally appropriate (most four year olds have trouble sitting down to read a story the first time they are asked, let alone ticking off items on a to do list) but that doesn’t mean we can’t help our children to develop good habits early on.
Routines and Time Management
To start instilling organisational skills in kids early on (and to help keep all members of the household stay sane), establish simple household routines and stick to them. For example,
in the morning we eat our breakfast, brush our teeth and then get dressed;
in the afternoon we unpack our lunch box as soon as we walk in the door and then eat a healthy snack together.
For important routines like the morning rush and bedtime, you can even use fun visuals to help your child stay on track without constant reminders from you. Make a step-by-step checklist with pictures for each “to do”, for extra fun, stick these pictures to a poster with velcro and let your child peel each step off as it is completed.
If you are organised, they will be too, children learn through watching others around them. Maybe not quite as well organised as you are, but it will help! Organise yourself with the little things so that they don’t pile up, for example, as soon as a permission slip comes home – read it, sign it and put it back in their bag – job done! In this way you can lead by example and then compliment this by talking about time management. Use calendars, family planners, white boards or pin boards around the house and collaborate as a family on organisation. Using a weekly schedule which includes things like school, homework and extracurricular activities, will keep the family on track. Including “down time” and time with friends on the schedule will help to teach your child about balance.
Some Tricks of the Trade
Different strategies will work in different families but here are a few tried and true techniques to help your child to develop organisational skills:
Break down big projects or assignments into small, manageable chunks. Once this has been achieved, encourage your child to plan out when and how they will complete each “chunk”. This is also helpful for procrastinators as it takes away the feeling of being overwhelmed by an insurmountable task. Provide regular praise for having a go and completing plans.
Make it a game! There are lots of ways to improve organisation that can actually be fun. “Beat The Buzzer” is a great way to get things moving in the morning.
Help your child prioritise. Improve homework focus by encouraging your child to work out what needs to be done and turn it into a checklist. Crossing out or ticking off items on the list will be both rewarding and motivating.
Allocate places in the house for important activities like studying. This cuts down on time wasted looking for materials and will help them to mentally click into “homework mode”.
Use timers for anything that needs to be time limited, such as computer and TV time. This is also great to promote sharing and turn taking in activities in which everyone wants equal time.
Colour code books according to subject and match these with timetables and other relevant materials. This will help your child to find what they need quickly and remember where they need to be or what they should be doing.
Putting it into Practice
Talk about the new ideas you are introducing to help them become more organised and why this is important. Make sure that they feel involved in planning and timetabling so that they don’t feel that this is just another set of rules that are being imposed upon them. This will also be important in helping them to develop the skills for themselves rather than having you do it for them.
When you catch your child demonstrating good organisational skills (eg. being ready to leave on time, following a step in the new routine) provide them with some specific and meaningful praise about what a great effort they are putting in (eg. “thank you Ella for putting on your shoes and taking your bag to the car so we could be on time for school today. You are very good at that”).
Introduce new strategies one at a time and provide plenty of rewards and praise along the way. Remember that teaching kids to be organised can be fun and with a little creativity, the possibilities are endless!
Hannan, Tim. Learning Disorders in Children: Recent advances in research and practice. InPsych, December 2013
Recently, the Quirky Kid Clinic worked with school staff from Year 5 at Moriah College in Sydney to facilitate the popular ‘The Best of Friends’ in the classroom setting.
This 6 weeks program covered areas such as Making Friends, Social Skills, Empathy, Compromise, and Peacemaking in friendships. Students participated in a range of activities including painting, play dough, role play, and multimedia presentations while discussing the finer points of friendship and playground issues.
Each child was given a “Quirky Kid Tool Kit” including materials for the day as well as making use of the Quirky Kid Resources. Information sheet for parents were provided so they could also help their children to build social skills.
We are very satisfied with parental and school feedback on the positive outcomes the workshop has achieved so far.
Moriah Colleague Principal and Teaching staff were incredibly supportive and showed great commitment toward students social development.
If you would like some information on ‘The Best of Friends™ workshop for your child’s classroom, please contact us on 02 9362-9297
This program has been present in many schools around Sydney like, St Thomas,St Catherine’s School and others. We also run our workshops in in Sydney, Wollongong, and Melbourne.
As some pre-schoolers may not yet be fully cognisant of their identity being separate to that of their parents, it is quite normal that times of separation, like the ‘drop-off’, can be loaded with separation anxiety and distress.
Other pre-schoolers are already little thinkers, able to anticipate future separation thus increasing their anxiety surrounding the morning’s pre-school drop-off. This child may ask the night before “is it a school day tomorrow?” and then display challenging behaviour from early in the morning in an effort to avoid the anticipated separation.
Here are a few options for managing this tricky issue of separation anxiety for pre-schoolers and parents alike.
Begin by learning more about your child’s day by having a conversation with the staff at the pre-school. Questions to ask include:
– How long does he or she take to settle? – How are his or her play and social skills developing? – How well is he or she communicating?
Pre-school staff provide valuable feedback around issues such as how well your child is able to do things like share, take turns and manage frustration with peers. If there are significant issues occurring in these areas, difficulty separating from parents and caregivers can reflect your child’s distress at entering an environment where they are having consistent negative experiences. If this is the case, it is important to target the skills and behaviours which are less developed and causing difficulty as a first step
If pre-school staff report that your child settles quickly and is reaching normal developmental milestones around play, communication and social skills, you can then target the issue of separation and assist your child to learn to cope with this process.
If your child happily gets ready for school and appears quite relaxed until the actual moment when you are leaving, we recommend:
Keep drop-offs short and your actions consistent e.g. Spend a period of time settling your child by engaging them with a carer and/or activity. It may help if you narrate your actions so your child is clear about what is happening “ Let’s take you over to (carer) or Let’s go and set you up with the blocks…. It’s time to say goodbye now. Mummy will come and collect you at (time). OK Mummy is going now, (kisses/hugs) bye.
Stay calm and make sure to also use your face to communicate, e.g. I know you are sad when mummy goes (show sad face) but you have a great time with (carer/ friend’s name) (show happy face)
If your child is a “little thinker” and anticipates separation well before the event, we recommend:
Create a ‘days of the week’ chart so your child is aware of school days and the weekly routine.
Normalise the anxiety or worry by validating your child’s feelings e.g. “You’re a bit worried about going to school and being apart from mummy. It’s OK to feel worried”
Encourage your child to persevere even though they are worried by reflecting on their past experiences. e.g. “You were worried about leaving mummy last week but you were very brave and went to school and then you had lots of fun”, “you were worried when we went to the party on the weekend but then you settled in and had a great time”
Create some catch phrases with your child to assist them to manage. Use these phrases on multiple occasions and have your child repeat them back to you. e.g. “I just need to play some games then I’ll get used to it”, “Even though I miss my mummy, I’m OK and my mummy is OK”, “I will have a lot of fun today and mummy will pick me up soon”.
Praise your child for being brave and doing things even though they are worried.
Be aware of supporting your child’s worry by allowing him or her to avoid attending pre-school or a feared event as a way of managing their anxiety. This usually exacerbates your child’s anxiety rather than diminishing it.
If all the above fail, the Quirky Kid clinic runs a popular anxiety workshop called ‘ Why Worry? for children aged 3 and above. You can also consult one of our psychologists individually to discuss other strategies.