Local, Independant and Effective

Melrose Primary School excels with EQ system

Posted February 26, 2014

 

Hansard transcript, February 26, 2014

Ms McGOWAN (Indi) (09:36): I rise to acknowledge the work of the staff, students and community of Melrose Primary School in building and sustaining a culture of strong emotional health and emotional intelligence.

I had the pleasure of visiting Melrose Primary School last week and am honoured to report to this parliament on the work and impact of this school community.

 

Melrose Primary School is in Wodonga, a wonderful community in north-east Victoria nestled against the Murray River. Wodonga is a sister city to Albury, in southern New South Wales. Beginning with a significant commitment to the professional development of staff in 2004, in January 2005 staff began teaching EQ as part of their core program.

It is now the key focus of all activities within the school. There are EQ buddies; EQ journals and newsletters; an EQ story wall; EQ executives, awards and leaders; EQ reports to parents; and much more.

For those of you unfamiliar with EQ, it is based on three goals: to know yourself, to choose yourself and to give yourself.

These goals are reinforced by five pillars: self-awareness, self-control, self-motivation, empathy and handling relationships.

The benefits of a whole-school approach to emotional intelligence are many. For example, students, teachers and families gain skills in recognising and naming emotions. Students are better able to understand their feelings and recognise the difference between feelings and actions. In the area of self-motivation, there is evidence of more responsibility and less impulsive action, and students are better able to focus on the tasks at hand.

In all the research on mental health, early intervention is nominated as the No. 1 most effective action that can be taken.

We know that 14 per cent of Australian children aged between four and 17 have been identified with mental health issues, so it is really important that we start work in our schools.

Dr Helen Street, in the School of Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Western Australia, conducted a formal evaluation of this program.

She said that the EQ program at Melrose Primary School showed immediate improvements in social behaviour and improvements in wellbeing.

A key element of EQ is making this type of learning relevant and fun. Melrose runs parent workshops and information nights.

The school council embraces EQ as part of its culture.

What I was most impressed about when I was at Melrose Primary School was the student handbook. It includes all this information in pictures, cartoons, words and stories—a truly impressive action.

I would like to congratulate all the team at Melrose Primary School; Wilson McCaskill, for getting it going; and the leadership team, Shane, Kellie and Maree.