The Purpose of This Resource
Educators have always focused on improving wellbeing. Increasingly, educators are recognizing the importance of prioritizing wellbeing as an outcome worthy of our intentional and collective efforts. We care deeply about our students, other educators, and our school communities, and want to do all we can to help people thrive now and in the future. Part of the challenge we face as educators is that we have a lot of training and ongoing support in improving teaching, academic learning, and classroom management, but very little formal training and support in fostering wellbeing. While improved academic learning and wellbeing are not mutually exclusive (they can actually be mutually reinforcing), we may feel that we do not necessarily have the time and expertise to intentionally impact and assess wellbeing without support. As a result, we as educators often double down on improving and assessing academic learning hoping that by doing so, wellbeing will take care of itself. When that strategy proves insufficient, we may go to Google, online journals, professional friends, or other sources to find interventions and resources that might help improve wellbeing. We are then confronted with sifting through endless resources of varying quality, trying to identify anything that might be useful to us in our context. Most of us as busy educators do not have the time and expertise to thoroughly review the countless resources available. As a result, we may end up choosing interventions based on curb appeal, a great review from a colleague, a low price, or simply because it sounds promising.
In providing this resource, we hope to do some of that legwork for you. While not comprehensive, this resource along with its companion resource Assessing Wellbeing in Schools, are designed to provide practicing educators with a brief review of valid and reliable assessments and interventions that may be of use to you in your context. Each of the interventions outlined in this book is evidence-based, free (or requires only the cost of simple materials), and easy to implement on a classroom or whole-school level with different age groups. If you are looking for a more comprehensive wellbeing or social emotional learning program, visit the Comprehensive Wellbeing Program chapter of this book for some suggestions on finding an evidence-based program to meet your school’s needs.
The activities in this resource are not meant to be a “cure-all” for mental health concerns. They should support, but not replace, intervention by psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and school counselors. It will be necessary for teachers and school leaders to continue to work with mental health professionals for the care of their students and staff in some cases. This resource aims to support you as you encourage the members of your school community to flourish and thrive.
This book is divided into two primary sections, one with a focus on wellbeing and postive education interventions for students and the other on interventions for school leaders, teachers and staff. Each intervention begins with a brief introduction followed by an "intervention guide" that provides recommended age/grade-level, materials, duration and steps for implementation. The final section includes information on peer-reviewed research studies that have been completed for the intervention. The student focused interventions are organized around Dr. Martin Seligman's PERMAH model for wellbeing, which stands for Postive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment, and Health(SOURCE). The employee wellbeing section is organized around whole-school interventions, usually directed by school leadership for all employees, and individual interventions that teachers and staff can complete on their own or in small groups as desired. As you read, you will notice a set of symbols at the top of each intervention page. These symbols, included with a description below, will help you quickly identify if the intervention is intended for youth or adults (or both) and if it requires an additional cost.
Collaborate With Us
We intend to continually update this resource as more research becomes available. Please share with us additional research, wellbeing interventions, feedback, or other considerations that you feel would be important to this work. Please send all information, feedback, or requests to David Boren at email@example.com.