Our May education event hosted Peter McGovern, principal of Wollongong’s Edmund Rice College, who gave an enlightening insight into his successful strategy of increasing student numbers by giving equal importance to sporting and academic achievement. Peter talked about ERC’s flexible Learning Centre designed by Edmiston Jones as being a key practical and symbolic centre for this direction. The recent Creative Arts building further extended this initiative, enrolment numbers and academic achievement continuing to climb.
ERC Learning Centre
In a similar vein, a Perth school has recently completed The Lighthouse, a purpose-built wellbeing facility. This innovative project allows students to try different ways to improve their own wellbeing with spaces such as;
– Meditation / recharge rooms
– Creative and expressive arts workshops
– Yoga / weights area
– Consultation rooms for physiotherapist, speech pathologist, and psychologist
– Dedicated nutrition area and street facing cafe
PLC Perth meditation room
The aim is to equip students with the necessary skills to help them through their sometimes-difficult final years at school, and perhaps more importantly, the rest of their lives. The objective is to prevent mental illness and promote mental health as well as support academic achievement. Here the Educhange podcast talks about building a Lighthouse for Wellbeing.
The most recent ABS National Health Survey estimated there were 4.8 million Australians (20.1 percent) with a mental or behavioural condition in 2017–18. Unfortunately, by adulthood much of the damage is done, and it takes hard work and huge investments in time and money to remedy the issues. As a result, the economic impact on Australian businesses is significant. The 2018 KPMG and Mental Health Australia report, Investing to Save, found that, mental ill-health in the workplace costs between $3,200 and $5,600 per employee with moderate to severe mental illness.
However, if we can teach our children about mental health wellbeing, we may be able to mitigate some of these problems for future generations of workers. Today’s schools are about much more than the transfer of facts and information from teachers to students. They are places enabling health, life and learning patterns that continue throughout a student’s lifetime.