Social Emotional Programs

The most profound learning in schools is only able to occur when a child feels safe and supported in school by their teacher and peers.  As with their academic learning, children make many mistakes with their social development as they learn to understand, test boundaries and interact with the world and people around them.  Our student’s health and well-being is supported and nurtured throughout their school experiences. 

Education is as much about social development and building character as it is about curriculum and co curriculum. Our Pastoral Care programs begin in the classroom, where caring and nurturing teachers check in daily with every child’s welfare and state of mind every day.  These conversations form a strong part of support networks, problem solving and conflict resolution.  

At times, where disagreements and conflict occur, our school follows a restorative approach to solving issues; where mistakes are sought to be opportunities to learn and improve from, and which assists teachers, students and parents to build, maintain and restore relationships. At Bethania Lutheran School we also believe that restorative practices play an important role in character development. Students accept responsibility for their actions, repair the problem or hurt they have caused and then move on with a commitment to behave differently. Circle time and round table discussions are used throughout the school to support restorative practice.

Play is the Way

A successful pastoral care program requires a proactive approach to teaching self-awareness, social interaction and conflict resolution skills to children.  A prominent part of social education at Bethania Lutheran School is the implementation of Wilson McCaskill’s ‘Play is the Way’ program. ‘Play is the Way’ is a practical methodology for teaching social and emotional learning using guided play, classroom activities and a specific and empowering language which is embedded across all levels of our school.

We strongly believe that the program supports our students by developing the fundamental skills for life effectiveness. Teaching the skills that we all need to manage ourselves, our relationships, and our work effectively and ethically.  These skills include recognising and managing our emotions, developing caring concern for others, establishing positive relationships, making responsible decisions, and handling challenging situations constructively. They are the skills that allow children to calm themselves when angry, make friends, resolve conflicts respectfully, and make strong and safe choices.

The ‘Play is the Way’ philosophy consists of behaviour education and student self-regulation that fosters independent, self-motivated, empathetic, lifelong learners. This philosophy revolves around the Self-Mastery Checklist and the following 5 key concepts:

  • Treat others as you would like them to treat you.
  • Be brave – Participate to progress.
  • Pursue your personal best no matter who you work with.
  • Have reasons for the things you say and do.
  • It takes great strength to be sensible.

For further information and recommended reading for parents, please visit the ‘Play is the Way’ website at

Bethania High 5

The Bethania High 5 is an effective program to empower children with problem solving strategies when facing disputes, or other conflicts in the classroom or playground.  The strategies build self-esteem and enables students to take responsibility for themselves and give them the power to practise these skills. The results are that students develop improved social skills and resilience and help themselves to avoid incidents becoming conflicts or previewed bullying incidents. The High 5 teaches children faced with a dispute to:

  • Ignore – At first ignore the comments or behaviour if possible.
  • Talk Friendly – Kindly ask the offending person to stop.
  • Walk Away – take control by removing themselves from the situation.
  • Talk Firmly – If the offender continues or follows then ask again firmly.
  • Report to a Teacher – If no solution can be reached, then help from a teacher might be needed.
  • Seek assistance to help solve the problem.

Inspired Learning for Life

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