REACH Program

Resilience, Emotional Awareness, Careers and Health

Overarching Goal
The goal of the REACH program is to enhance each student’s capacity to be happy, and resilient, and have a clear sense of purpose and direction.

Introduction
In 2015 Comet Bay College introduced REACH (Resilience, Emotional Awareness, Careers and Health) in Years 7, 8 and 9. REACH is a pastoral care curriculum delivering quality social and emotional learning (SEL) programs in a classroom environment. Extensive worldwide research highlights the need to develop students social and emotional skills.

The need for SEL is summarised well by Hartup, ‘The single best childhood predictor of adult adaptation is not school grades, and not classroom behaviour, but rather, the adequacy with which the child gets along with other children. Children who are generally disliked, who are aggressive and disruptive, who are unable to sustain close relationships with other children, and who cannot establish a place for themselves in the peer culture are seriously at risk’ (Hartup, 1992, p.1).

Social and emotional well-being refers to the achievement of expected development milestones and the establishment of effective coping skills secure attachments, and positive social relationships. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is defined as, “ the process through which we learn to recognise and manage emotions, care about others, make good decisions, behave ethically and responsibly, develop positive relationships, and avoid negative behaviours” [1]. Students with social and emotional distress will display internalising behaviours (anxiety, depression) and externalising behaviours (aggressive, violent, disruptive, bullying behaviours), and this has an impact on the child’s successful learning at school.

The Melbourne Declaration on the Educational Goals of Young Australians recognises Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) in schools assists students to become successful learners, helping to improve their academic learning and enhancing their motivation to reach their full potential.

The Australian Curriculum (AC) states “the need to develop student’s social and emotional skills is critical to student success and the ability to both attain and use academic skills”. General Capabilities, Personal and Social Capacity (GCPSC) develops “personal and social competence as students learn to understand and manage themselves, their relationships, lives, work and learning more effectively. This involves recognising and regulating their emotions, developing concern for and, understanding of others, establishing positive relationships, making responsible decisions, working effectively in teams and handling challenging situations constructively.”

“Without social and emotional skills children cannot learn as effectively and cannot make the most of their learning. A child who is afraid in the classroom or in the schoolyard or bringing fears from home cannot concentrate on learning. A child who has not learned to consider others cannot use what they learn to make effective negotiations in the real world” (Social and Emotional Learning as a Basis for Curriculum, 2014).

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