Children at ten schools in the Diocese are learning to manage their emotions with a new programme which teaches social and emotional skills.
The schools have adopted the Worry Woos, seven monster characters which teach young children to identify and manage complicated emotions.
Each character kit contains a book and soft plush toy designed by American illustrator Andi Green, and focuses on a different emotion, from loneliness to confusion to envy.
“The teachers and children love the program and are finding it to be a fantastic way to talk about issues that arise each day – even referring back to earlier stories as friendship and playground issues arise,” said Helen Leigh, the Principal at St Martin’s Davidson.
“Nola was my favourite,” said Chloe, a Year 1 student at St John the Apostle Narraweena. “She was lonely. She had the same feelings as me sometimes … it helped me to know what to do.”
Australian paediatric psychologist Dr John Irvine developed the teaching framework for schools because he believed schools were more focused on academic results than teaching social and emotional skills.
“NAPLAN gives children results on a page but it’s not doing anything for the kids’ happiness,” he said.
“Emotional wellbeing is important in survival, jobs and success and happiness in life.”
Jaye Bloffwitch, psychologist at the Catholic Schools Office, said that the Worry Woos supported the Catholic Schools approach to the “whole child.”
“Academic learning is important but it won’t happen without emotional wellbeing”