Victoria’s Respectful Relationships initiative supports school leaders, educators and our school communities to promote and model respect and equality – and to teach our children how to build healthy relationships, resilience and confidence.
The Royal Commission into Family Violence identified the critical role that schools have in creating a culture of respect to change the story of family violence for future generations. In 2016, respectful relationships education became a core component of the Victorian Curriculum from Prep to Year 12, and is being taught in all government and Catholic schools and many independent schools, including Puckapunyal Primary School.The learning materials cover eight topics of Social and Emotional Learning across all levels of primary and secondary education. The eight topics are described below:
Topic 1: Emotional Literacy
Emotional literacy can be defined as the ability to understand ourselves and other people. It includes the ability to understand, express and manage our own emotions, build empathy, and to respond appropriately to the emotions of others. Building
a large vocabulary for emotions helps to increase emotional literacy and build self-awareness and empathy for others.
Topic 2: Personal Strengths
Children and young people need a vocabulary to help them recognise and understand strengths and positive qualities in themselves and others. This topic provides learning activities to build this vocabulary and to use it when discussing personal, social and ethical challenges.Research in the field of positive psychology emphasises the importance of identifying and using individual strengths. Social and emotional learning programs which use strength-based approaches promote student wellbeing, positive behaviour and academic achievement.
Topic 3: Positive Coping
Learning activities in this topic provide opportunities for students to identify and discuss different types of coping strategies. When children and young people develop a language around coping, they are more likely to be able to understand and deliberately utilise a range of productive coping strategies and diminish their use of unproductive coping strategies. Students learn to extend their repertoire of coping strategies and benefit from critically reflecting on their own choices and being exposed to alternative options.Activities introduce students to the concept of self- talk and practice using positive self-talk to approach and manage challenging situations. Positive self-talk is a key strategy for coping with negative thoughts, emotions and events. It is associated with greater persistence in the face of challenge, and can be learnt or strengthened through practice.
Topic 4: Problem Solving
Problem-solving skills are an important part of the coping repertoire. The classroom program provides a number of learning activities to develop students’ problem-solving skills. The activities in the program assist students to develop their critical and creative thinking skills, and to apply them to scenarios exploring personal, social and ethical dilemmas.
Topic 5: Stress Management
Children and young people experience a range of personal, social and work-related stressors in their everyday lives. Activities within this topic have an explicit focus on teaching positive approaches to stress management. Assisting students to recognise their personal signs and symptoms of stress, and to develop strategies that will help them to deal with stress effectively, will help students cope with future challenges. The activities focus on the ways in which self-calming strategies can be used to manage stressful situations.
Topic 6: Help-Seeking
Learning activities in this topic area are designedto help students discuss the importance of seeking help and providing peer support when dealing with problems that are too big to solve alone. This helps to normalise and destigmatise help-seeking behaviour. Scenario-based activities help students identify situations in which help should be sought, identify trusted sources of help, and practice seeking help from peers and adults.
Topic 7: Gender and Identity
Learning activities within this topic assist students to challenge stereotypes and critique the influence of gender stereotypes on attitudes and behaviour. They learn about key issues relating to human rights, gender, identity and focus on the importance of respect within relationships. The activities promote respect for diversity and difference.
Topic 8: Positive Gender Relations
Learning activities within this topic focus on building an understanding of the effects of family violence and focus on the standards associated with respectful relationships. Students develop the skills needed to solve problems, set boundaries within relationships, and play an active role within the prevention of family violence. They develop peer support and help-seeking skills that can be applied in response to situations involving gender- based violence in family, peer, community or on-line relationships.