Liberals to deliver new school wellness program for Year 3

Primary school children will experience reduced mental stress, improved concentration and better educational outcomes with a mindfulness and meditation program.  

A Canberra Liberals Government will deliver a Wellness program to all Year 3 classes in ACT Government primary schools to ensure healthier, happier and more productive students.  

The Smiling Mind is a program that teaches children to be mindful of their environment, leading to better attention, memory, regulation of emotions and self-awareness. Improvements in these areas can lead to better academic skills, social skills, self-esteem and reduce stress and anxiety.

The Smiling Mind has been successfully trialled in Giralang Primary School since 2015 and is endorsed by Headspace ACT. The program requires at least 10 minutes per day of guided relaxation and breathing exercises.  

With increasing accounts of violence and behavioural issues in ACT schools, the mindfulness program will help empower young children to emotionally self-regulate and manage their behaviour.    

A Canberra Liberals Government will roll out the mindfulness program to all Year 3 classes from the beginning of the 2021 school year.  

The Leader of the Canberra Liberals Alistair Coe said he wanted Canberra children to get the most of their education and be equipped with skills for life.  

“I want school to be a positive experience for kids where they can learn with minimal disruptions, build positive relationships and make lifelong friendships,” Mr Coe said.   

“A mindfulness and meditation program will give children skills to help them in their schoolwork but which they can also carry with them into other areas of their life.  

“This is a real and practical measure to help young people focus on their studies and improve their overall wellbeing and academic performance,” Mr Coe said.  

The Shadow Minister for Education Elizabeth Lee said the Smiling Mind trial had seen enormous benefits for students’ mental wellbeing and academic performance, and significantly reducing negative behaviour.

“We know many young people can carry heavy emotional burdens and experience mental stress. This can be expressed in negative ways that can detrimentally impact themselves, peers and teachers,” Ms Lee said. 

“The Smiling Mind teaches children exercises to help them feel calmer and more relaxed, enabling them to focus on their learning. It equips them with the skills to thrive in the classroom.

“We want our schools to be the best and safest learning environments in the country and making sure the Smiling Mind is accessible to all Year 3 students is another measure to help achieve that,” Ms Lee said.