Curriculum & Programs - Mental Health & Wellbeing

The A, B, C, D & E of Donald Primary School is a whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing. It is designed to develop essential skills that will result in good choices, positive attitudes and good character in students that will encourage social, emotional, mental and physical wellbeing.

The ABCD&E of DPS takes a three pronged approach to wellbeing and uses explicit teaching, common language and hands-on, interactive learning to promote these school values.

The ABCD&E of DPS are:

A is for ATTITUDE & Activity



D is for Directions & DECISIONS


The ABCD&E of DPS utilises multiple Weekly School Programs – particularly Huff & Puff, Weekly Assemblies, Avocados, Wacky Wednesday and Fun Friday - to focus on the development of social, mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.Each week of the school term will have a Weekly Focus Area (ie one of The ABCD&E of DPS) which will be extended throughout the week’s events.

Teachers will also be encouraged to remind students of The ABCD&E of DPS regularly in their teaching, linking the ABCD&E of DPS and Weekly Focus Area with others areas of student learning.

On Monday morning DPS holds a Weekly Assembly. These are a positive weekly celebration of school and individual achievement. A whole school approach to wellbeing will use part of this time to focus the student’s attention on The ABCD&E of DPS. This might be done via explanation, an item, skit/drama or a film/movie.

The Weekly Assembly will utilise the DPS Wellbeing Mascots (animal suits associated with The ABCD&E of DPS) and introduce and extend knowledge on the Weekly Focus Area. This weekly introduction during assembly will serve as a launching pad into the weeks other programs and general school life.

On Monday before lunch students will be divided into multi-aged, mixed gender groups with a Big Avocado (ie, a Staff member who is not their classroom teacher). They will be in the same Avocado group for the entire year. Avocados is designed to be a peer support & learning program where a staff member and the students learn together through conversation and provide a smaller, safe support network of multi-aged students.

During Avocados there will a specific focus to discuss or an interactive task which will allow students to teach and learn from one another as they explore the Weekly Focus Area of the ABCD&E of DPS. Resources will be made available to staff members but the conversation or activity may be adapted and tailored to suit the needs and interests of the specific Avocado groups.

The Wacky Wednesday program will take place after lunch each Wednesday afternoon until home time. Groups will be mixed gender and determined by year level. Each staff member will run a hands-on, interactive activity to allow students to learn and explore the Weekly Focus Area in more depth and via alternative means. The activity will run for the entire 1.5hr block from lunch till home time.

Some examples of a Wacky Wednesday activity include: Kitchen Garden, Art. Music, Drama, Bush School, Movie Making, Board/Outdoor Games etc. This activity can be determined by the teacher’s particular interest.

Each Wacky Wednesday activity must somehow relate and focus on the Weekly Focus Area. It should seek to promote and develop essential skills required for students to be successful in developing social, emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. The skills taught and developed in a Wacky Wednesday activity should change according to the Weekly Focus Area. FOR EXAMPLE:

Example 1
Wacky Wednesday Activity: Kitchen Garden
Weekly Focus Area: “D is for Directions & Decisions”
Essential Skill: Following Instructions
Task: Cooking pancakes as a team with only VERBAL instructions given by staff member

Example 2
Wacky Wednesday Activity: Bush School Weekly
Focus Area: “C is for Communication & Community”
Essential Skill: Teamwork
Task: Building a tepee out of sticks

Where a Wacky Wednesday activity cannot relate to the Weekly Focus Area or Essential Skill, TIME MUST BE TAKEN during the activity to have a conversation or play a short game which demonstrates and promotes understanding of an essential skill of the Weekly Focus Area.

This is a specific, targeted hand-on, project based learning approach for some targeted students at DPS. This program will run regularly for a number of weeks in an intensive-style program with the same group of students. It will be co-ordinated by the Wellbeing-Chaplain, Principal and one or two other staff members.

Fun Friday will seek to target students requiring additional support in developing particular essential skills required for good mental health and wellbeing. The program will change in task, student groups, focus area and duration according to the school calendar and particular needs of students.

A is for Attitude & Activity


helpful thinking; unhelpful thinking; self talk; catastrophe scale; self worth; perception; realistic; absolute and approximate statements; good/positive/realistic attitude; “best efforts”; “lighten up”; “have a red hot go”

A is for ATTITUDE & ACTIVITY focuses on developing the essential skill of helpful thinking and self talk and also on movement and physical wellbeing. This value is seeking to build skills which enable students to have a positive, realistic and healthy ATTITUDE towards life and also choosing a healthy, ACTIVE lifestyle.


  • Helpful Thinking and Self Talk
  • Identifying Unhelpful Thinking
  • Using humour to face challenges
  • Choosing an healthy, active lifestyle
  • Seeking to constantly improve in ability in physical activity
  • Exploring and trying a range of different physical activities



Resilience; bouncing back; adversity; team work; problem solving; “fail, fail again, fail better”; “best efforts”; “have a red hot go”

B is for BOUNCING BACK is a value which focuses on resilience. Resilience is the ability to BOUNCE BACK after adversity. This is essential if students are to cope well with change, adversity, challenges and conflict. Building resilience will assist students in their academic performance, their social relationships and home-life circumstances. Some students are naturally resilient while others require resilience to be developed more intentionally.


  • What is Resilience?
  • Teamwork & Leadership
  • Problem Solving
  • Best Efforts


ChuckY the Chook

KEY WORDS & PHRASES Communication; verbal and non-verbal; body language; friendships; relationships; belonging; self worth; uniqueness; diversity; trust and safety; “too many chiefs, not enough Indians”; “the 7 steps to solving conflict”

C is for COMMUNICATION & COMMUNITY looks at a two-fold area of communication and relationships. While these areas can be taught separately they are most certainly linked! In the area of COMMUNICATION we look at verbal and non-verbal communication skills while in the COMMUNITY aspect we explore community, friendships, family relationships, diversity, tolerance and belonging.


  • Verbal and Non Verbal Communication
  • Effective Listening
  • Characteristics of Friendship
  • Dealing with Conflict with Friends
  • A Positive Self Image
  • Sense of belonging



KEY WORDS & PHRASES Choice; consequence; following instructions; “do what the teacher says the first time”; “have a red hot go!”; “too many chiefs, not enough Indians”

D is for Directions & Decisions is a focus area which looks at following instructions (DIRECTIONS), making good DECISIONS and understanding choice and consequence. The essential skills in this focus area seek to develop a student’s ability to consider the consequences for good and bad decisions and having the courage to make good, healthy choices for their social, mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.


  • Following Instructions
  • Making Good Choices
  • Considering consequences



KEY WORDS & PHRASES Emotions; empathy; emotional recognition; emotional regulation;

EXPLANATION E is for EMOTIONS & EMPATHY seeks to focus on the student’s ability to identify and regulate their emotions and also identify emotions in others so that they can regulate their behaviour accordingly. In this area we seek to draw links between emotions and appropriate behaviour. This area also seeks to focus on EMPATHY – the ability to see a situation from another’s point of view – and how being empathetic can regulate our behaviour and emotional response to a situation.


  • Identifying Emotions
  • Regulating Emotions
  • Empathy

Glossary of words & phrases:

The ABCD&E of DPS The whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing

Weekly Focus Area The single aspect of the “ABCD&E of DPS” that will be focused on for a week. This may then be further specified, often to a single essential skill.

Wellbeing Mascots The animals which are attached to a single key value of the “ABCD&E of DPS”.

Huff & Puff / Movement An everyday morning program of physical activity and movement in each class room.

Avocados A multi-aged, peer support group program held on Monday with a staff member who is not the student’s classroom teacher. The program is based on the Weekly Focus Area.

Weekly Assembly Typically a Monday morning celebration of student and school achievement.

Wacky Wednesday A whole school Wednesday afternoon program where students focus on the Weekly Focus Area in an interactive, hand on approach to learning.

Fun Friday Targeted learning in an intensive styled program of hands on learning designed to teach essential skills to specific students to improve mental health and wellbeing.

ETFA Chart Event, Thoughts, Feelings and Actions. Your Thoughts about an Event will dictate how you Feel and therefore how you respond. Change your Thoughts and you change your Feelings & Actions. This is a flow chart where students can write or draw new information into each box and determine possible thoughts, feelings and actions about real or hypothetical events.

The 7 Steps to Conflict Resolution (Use the Teaching Resource to teach this to students) This is a tool used to work through problems with peers.
The 7 steps are :
1. TALK ABOUT IT – don’t ignore it but sort it out
2. RIGHT TIME - Is this is RIGHT TIME to deal with the conflict?
3. BE CLAM before you attempt conflict resolution
4. YOU DO IT - deal with it face to face, not via technology or a 3rd Party.
5. YOUR BODY TALKS – remember body language and posture
6. USE “I STATEMENTS” not blaming statements, but “When... I feel...”
7. LISTEN – Allow the person speaking to you to speak without you rebutting what they say. When you have finished speaking allow the other person to speak freely.

Emotional recognition The ability to identify emotions in themselves and also in other people via body language, facial expression, physical symptoms etc.

Emotional regulation The ability to regulate behaviour, actions or response dictated by a particular emotion. For example, the ability to feel angry but not punch another student.

Wellbeing Award

The school staff recently won the 2016 Rural Education Award from the Country Education Project for:

"Inspirational Educator"

In recognition of the Inspirational Educators and Education Leaders that exist within Rural and Remote Communities that facilitate:

  • High levels of quality, engaging and inspiring learning.
  • Outstanding learning approaches that inspire learners.
  • Uses innovative and creative approach to engage learners.


Donald Primary School does not currently have a school chaplain. Chaplains are funded under the Commonwealth Government's National School Chaplaincy Program (NSCP).

Chaplains support the emotional wellbeing of students by providing pastoral care services and strategies that support the emotional wellbeing of the broader school community. They work closely with wellbeing and allied health staff in schools to support students and their educational outcomes, staff, families and the wider school community.

A chaplain funded via the NSCP is defined as an individual who: is recognised by the school community and the appropriate governing authority for the school as having the skills and experience to deliver school chaplaincy to the school community; and is recognised through formal ordination, commissioning, recognised religious qualifications or endorsement by a recognised or accepted religious institution; and meets the NSCP's minimum qualification requirements. NSCP chaplains may be of any faith.