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Circles for Learning

Positive Foundations for Mental Health and Wellbeing


What is Circles for Learning?

Circles for Learning is a unique whole class or small group project that is focused on developing the five essential elements that enable positive foundations for mental health and wellbeing to develop.

Positive Relationships: including social skills, empathy and restorative practices and the learning relationship.
Emotional Literacy: including recognising and managing emotions in ourselves and others.
Self-awareness: including self-concept, self-esteem, self-regulation, resilience and self-image
Skills for learning: including learning dimensions, emotional barriers to learning, working with others and problem solving.
Understanding the brain and how it impacts on learning and behaviour: including brain development, the stress response, trauma, and mindsets


How does Circles for Learning work?

Circles for Learning trains and then supports teachers to bring a parent and young child into the classroom  once a month for a year. This amazing experience allows children to observe the development of relationships, watch learning unfold, understand how our sense of self develops and observe and understand emotions and the ways in which they impact on our behaviour. With the guidance and support of their teacher they explore and think about what they have seen and how this may link to their own development, learning, thinking, behaviour and ways of interacting with others. These parent young child observation visits are the provocation or stimulus to follow up work led by the teacher exploring each of the five essential elements that form the foundations for positive mental health and wellbeing.


What will children learn?

With their class teacher’s support, the Children and Young People observe, explore and discuss the interactions, learning and emotions being played out in front of them. They get to watch how a baby responds to a loving adult and how this important relationship enables them to be curious and explore; how they behave when frightened or overwhelmed; and how they learn to do things or manage the frustrations when they are not able to. They get to watch how emotions become the driving force to a range of behaviours and how the baby starts to put together an idea of who they are and how they can interact with the world around them. Working alongside their class teacher, the children and young people explore how someone else might feel and how that feeling influences their actions. Whilst doing this the class teacher is in a privileged position to help the children link what they see to their own learning, emotions and behaviours.


Children and Young People will develop:

  • Emotional competencies, so that they can talk about how things make them feel and how to manage those feelings.

  • Social competencies, so that they have the skills and knowledge to develop positive relationships and manage conflict.

  • Greater self-awareness, so that they can discuss the strategies they use to motivate themselves or self-regulate, the self-talk they employ when stuck and the strategies they use for solving problems.

  • The ability to recognise the needs of others and think about ways of supporting them.

  • Strategies they can then use to manage learning when it doesn't go well, or they become stuck.

  • Awareness of how their emotions drive their behaviour and how their behaviour may affect others.

  • Strategies to manage themselves when things don’t go as planned or they experience overwhelming feelings.

These rich observation sessions are then followed up by a range of exciting and interactive activities that are planned by their class teacher to support and develop positive foundations for mental health and wellbeing.

Circles for Learning Program: Services
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