Along with a focus on self-reflection, and curriculum preparation for 2018, staff at BSSC spend much of the final two weeks of the school year involved in Professional Development across a broad range of topics.

On Tuesday, BSSC hosted a session for staff by educator and founder of The Resilience Project, Hugh van Cuylenburg.

In 2008, Hugh van was fortunate enough to spend a few months living and volunteering in the far north of India. In this desert community, there was no running water, no electricity and no beds; everyone slept on the floor of their desert hut. Despite the fact these people had very little to call their own, Hugh was continually blown away by how happy they were.

“It was this experience, and subsequent post graduate studies, that have led me to some pretty simple conclusions about the things that we need to be doing here in Australia if we want to be happier.

“In a nutshell, I learnt in this desert village that practicing gratitude, empathy (compassion) and mindfulness leads us to a happier more fulfilling experience. Once I discovered these three principles were also evidence-based, I thought it might be a good idea to turn this into a program for schools,” explained Hugh.

Organiser and participant, Bronnie Bishop, was impressed with the program. “I think the success was that it focused on teaching teachers (as people) about strategies that work to increase their own resilience that can then be passed on (through education experiences) to students,” she said.

“Hugh gave us evidenced-base strategies that are easy to implement and are known to work to improve everyone’s quality of life. If we can model to students a more positive capacity to deal with life’s challenges and build their capacity to cope—and even bounce back—it will be a big win for our college and society in general.”