Building resilience at Parkmore Primary School

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Ambition: Happy, Healthy and Resilient Kids​
Education State Target: By 2025, Victorian students reporting high resilience will grow by 20 per cent.​

​For Parkmore Primary School Principal Saraid Doherty, teaching students how to be resilient is the key to helping the​m survive ups and downs in life.

The Forest Hill school practices positive education – the idea that working with a student’s strengths enables them to grow – to help students develop emotional intelligence. 

“Emotional literacy is very important,” Ms. Doherty sa​​​id. ​

“We teach children that it’s okay to feel sad or mad, but it’s not okay to stay there. 

“Being able to articulate how one is feeling can help stem some negative behaviours later on in life.” 

To build a positive environment, the school sets daily rituals to energise or calm, and runs “positivity week”. 

It was also one of just two primary schools that piloted Respectful Relationships​ education, ahead of it becoming compulsory for schools next year. 


“This is a ripe environment for it, we can anchor Respectful Relationships in positive education,” she said. 

“[A positive environment] can’t be a nice to have – it has to be an imperative.” 

The Government aims that, by 2025, 20 per cent more students will report high resilience.

Ms. Doherty, who has a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology, said resilience gives people the ability to bounce back from disappointments and challenges. ​

“Resilience isn’t about putting up with things, it’s about working through issues,” Ms. Doherty said.​