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Positively Proactive. Leading the way in wellbeing education

In a first for New Zealand, Samuel Marsden Collegiate School has become a Visible WellbeingTM school, partnering with leading international Positive Psychology expert, Professor Lea Waters, to expand their support of student wellbeing. This initiative distinguishes Marsden as the nation’s thought leader in Positive Education and wellbeing.

Adopting the Visible WellbeingTM approach is the school’s ground-breaking and definitive response to the alarming prevalence of mental and emotional health disorders among school-age New Zealanders. “It’s about delivering wellbeing education that’s proactive, positive and effective”, said Principal, Narelle Umbers. “We’re not interested in a band aid approach or simply tacking on another programme that ticks the wellbeing box. The Visible WellbeingTM approach will equip everyone at Marsden with the learning, skills and tools they need to be healthy – to learn and live well, to excel academically, and to give them a toolkit to maintain wellbeing beyond school as well.” “We’re investing in this”, Ms Umbers added, “because we don’t want our students and staff to be just ok, coping or even doing well. We want them to learn how to thrive now and throughout their lives.”

Visible WellbeingTM was designed and perfected by Professor Waters, Founding Director of the University of Melbourne’s Positive Psychology Centre. It is the culmination of more than 20-years’ research and implementation across primary, secondary, co-ed and single sex schools in government and independent systems in North America, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East. By combining the science of learning and the science of wellbeing, Professor Waters has created an approach that allows staff and students to identify wellbeing in each other (it becomes visible). It gives them a framework that is embedded across all levels, subjects and co-curricular activity, to enhance wellbeing,

The framework covers aspects of wellbeing including identifying individual strengths; social-emotional learning; emotional intelligence; resilience, values, character, positive, contemplation and civics education; self-regulated learning; and positive youth development. This holistic wellbeing input, develops the individual and their prosocial perspective in a way that helps them learn, feel good, function well and do good.

Longitudinal data confirms that the Visible WellbeingTM approach works. It’s compelling, showing that secondary students with high levels of wellbeing enjoy the long term benefits of better physical health, better social relationships, more optimism for the future and higher academic performance.

Given the approach’s proven capacity to help students flourish psychologically, socially and academically it’s no wonder the whole community is excited and looking forward to its implementation. It all started in early February when Professor Waters was in Wellington running workshops with the Marsden staff and senior students before school started, so students could benefit from day one.

Samuel Marsden Collegiate School has been providing quality independent education for over 140 years. While honouring tradition it delivers a wide-ranging, modernised and future-focused curriculum. In being the first to become a Visible WellbeingTM school in New Zealand, Marsden is leading the way in wellbeing education.

Marsden has two campuses. The Marsden School Karori campus provides education for girls from Years 1-13 and has a co-ed Preschool. The Marsden School Whitby campus provides Years 7-13 education in a co-ed setting. Marsden School’s purpose is to lay the foundation for lives of meaning, accomplishment and genuine happiness. marsden.school.nz

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