This was originally published back in 2020.
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Collaborator for 30 Day Challenge –‘The Power of You’, Where there’s a Will
Educator for The Yellow Cottage Preschool


How did you get involved in the 30 day challenge, ‘The Power of You’?

I was invited by the Where there’s a Will Founder, Pauline Carrigan, to be one of her ‘chalkies’ – a team of teachers. She asked us, as a cohort, to summarise into bite size pieces, the concept of Wellness and Wellbeing for the whole of the Upper Hunter to benefit and draw from in this unusual and stressful time.


Why you specifically?

I have a passion for the subject, and I am currently being sponsored by Where there’s a Will to do the Graduate Certificate in Positive Education through Melbourne University. Pauline knows that I am enthusiastic about getting the message out that you can have a better life rather than a just OK life if you learn how to use and focus on wellbeing and wellness daily.


Tell us about your study of the Graduate Certificate of Positive Education.

I was lucky to be nominated by Scone Grammar School as one of the teachers to undertake this. I have an Honours Degree in Land Economics and a Diploma in Early Childhood Education, rather than an Education Degree, so I am excited to be actually getting a university recognised industry certificate in a part of the industry that I am so passionate about.

The certificate itself is focused on helping me to understand how I can extend the reach of Positive Education in my workplace. I have chosen to do my project around how Preschool children can learn about the importance of strengths (how to recognise them, how to use them and balance them) through music, movement, drama and dance.

We all know children learn in different ways. Some learn through words, some through pictures and some through movement. Whilst the literacy and play programme at The Yellow Cottage has had developing the children’s understanding of strengths at its core for years now, our movement and music programme hasn’t had quite that focus. I am developing a music/drama program based around extending the children’s knowledge of the 24 strengths through physical movement and song. I am loving the challenge of finding ways to teach the children about balancing bravery with prudence to keep them safe but still allow for a growth mindset through role play, song and movement.


Why is understanding character strengths so important?

Character strengths are the core of who you are. They are the driver within you that affects how you respond to issues, people and stress or joys in your life. My top character strengths are Zest, Kindness, Fairness, Love and Teamwork.

I use these strengths all the time when I am at work and at home with my friends and my family. My lesser used strengths are bravery and appreciation of beauty. I know that I need to draw on these at times. Being aware that they don’t come naturally to me is a gift. I can make sure that I find these strengths when I need them rather than wondering why I’m not brave in confronting situations or didn’t see that beautiful cloud formation that everyone else is raving about.
When you understand what comes easily to you and what you need to be conscientious about using, it makes it easier to understand why you react as you do to certain things.


What’s your take on PERMA and why is it important?

PERMA is a ‘road map’ that helps to summarise the key points of Wellness and Wellbeing. Each letter in PERMA refers to a different part of the combination of skills that you can draw on to improve your life from a state of being OK to being well and thriving.  I am specifically focused on E = engagement in this 30-Day Challenge for Where there’s a Will. Engagement is about being and getting lost in the moment with what you are doing – Being so passionate and focused on something that you lose all track of time. This happens to me often at work (I am lucky that way) and sometimes when I am doing a puzzle or reading a book.


You’ll find out more about the rest of the PERMA road map when you follow the 30 Day Challenge created by Where there’s a Will and their ‘chalkies’ like Cathy and our Director of The Yellow Cottage, Kirsty Hails.