Over the last four years I have been a parent at BISS, part of the management team and last year had the amazing opportunity to help the school launch its well-being programme and in particular to join with parents on their journey of Mindfulness practice, exploring character strengths and developing coaching conversations.
Sue Smith and Clive Leach along with Sonya Papps of the Taipei European School, Taiwan presenting our work at the International Positive Education Festival in Dallas in July.
Along with Clive Leach, the organizational coach working with BISS on well-being, we presented our work this summer at the International Positive Education Festival in Dallas. You will be pleased to hear that at BISS we are working at the forefront of Positive Education in relation to teaching staff and students and we are at the cutting edge of work with parents. Our experiences working with parents were received with considerable interest particularly from Singapore, USA and New Zealand, but there is still much to learn and to share with you.
Although I am now based in Cleveland Ohio I continue to take an active interest in the well-being programme at BISS and will send a regular ‘Letter from America’ to bring you all the latest on Positive Education which encompasses the work we continue to do on well-being.
To kick off Term 1 I want to share with you five important postcards rather than a letter. They are a great reminder to all of us about what really underpins our happiness. You can print them off and stick them on the fridge as a reminder.
Five Ways to Wellbeing originate from evidenced based research carried out initially in the UK and now adopted globally. At a glance they look simple and common sense, but look again. How often do you and your family behave in this way? And when you do, how does it make you think, feel, and act?
Connect… With the people around you. With family, friends, colleagues and neighbours. At home, work, school or in your local community. Think of these as the cornerstones of your life and invest time in developing them. Building these connections will support and enrich you every day.
This can be as simple as smiling at someone.
Be active… Go for a walk or run. Step outside. Cycle. Play a game. Garden. Dance. Exercising makes you feel good. Most importantly, discover a physical activity you enjoy and that suits your level of mobility and fitness.
Why not make time to walk to school with the children.
Take notice… Be curious. Catch sight of the beautiful. Remark on the unusual. Notice the changing seasons. Savour the moment, whether you are walking to work, eating lunch or talking to friends. Be aware of the world around you and what you are feeling. Reflecting on your experiences will help you appreciate what matters to you.
Our life in Shanghai for most of us is a fleeting experience. Make the most of your time here in this amazing part of the world. There are lots of ideas for you in the Community Guide.
Keep learning… Try something new. Rediscover an old interest. Sign up for that course. Take on a different responsibility at work. Fix a bike. Learn to play an instrument or how to cook your favourite food. Set a challenge you will enjoy achieving. Learning new things will make you more confident as well as being fun.
Why not learn one new word in Mandarin each week.
Give… Do something nice for a friend, or a stranger. Thank someone. Smile. Volunteer your time. Join a community group. Look out, as well as in. Seeing yourself, and your happiness, linked to the wider community can be incredibly rewarding and creates connections with the people around you.
There are some great opportunities here in Shanghai for you to volunteer and share your strengths with the community. Why not look in our Community Guide to see some of the Volunteering possibilities.
Forthcoming programmes on well-being
19 September – Mindfulness for wellbeing and peak performance. This is a free online course from the Open University. I have taken it and can highly recommend it for those new to Mindfulness and those who want to revisit it. Why not get together with some friends to follow it. In fact there are 100s of fantastic on line courses on this site, guaranteed to get your happiness quota up.
23 September – Coaching Conversations, the coaching group for parents will start led by Valerie Guglielmi.
Please register your interest at email@example.com
Yoga taster sessions from 'Just Yoga' for all year 12 and 13 students at the beginning of term.
BISSCAP Yoga for yr 12 and 13. The focus for the yoga classes will be on learning relaxation and stress management.
Just Yoga will also be offering reduced rates for all BISS students at their yoga studio.
Sue Smith, 2015/16 Well Being Co-ordinator