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Positive Education

Want to place wellbeing at the heart of education?

Geelong Grammar School has pioneered a school-wide approach to student and staff wellbeing known as Positive Education. Based on the science of Positive Psychology, Positive Education aims to enable individuals and communities to flourish. GGS continues to share its journey and has assisted over 1000 schools throughout Australia and the world.

HundrED 2018


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2018

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Target group
September 2017
The beauty of this is the innovation lies in rediscovering and re-learning what the true purpose of education is. We are reintegrating what the great philosophers of the past knew - the wisdom that has become lost, to some extent, in modern education systems. What was once thought of as 'being good' is now being confirmed by science which is what makes it so exciting.

About the innovation

What is Positive Education?

Nearly a quarter of Australian youth have anxiety, affective or substance use disorders, and a variety of other mental illnesses. The issue is not limited to Australia, the world faces a challenge which requires a global approach because theWorld Health Organization predicts that by 2030, depression will be the highest contributor to global disease.

In addition to mental health prevalence, if we consider what we want most for our children and fellow humans, characteristics outlines byMartin Seligman come to mind: happiness, confidence, contentment, fullfillment, balance, kindness, health, satisfation, and love. Wellbeing must be at the center of education - not on the periphery. Substantial evidence shows that students can successfully learn skills to increase resilience, positive emotion, relationships, engagement, and meaning.

Positive Education was pioneered at Geelong Grammar School as a school-wide approach to promote student and staff wellbeing. Based on the science of Positive Psychology, Positive Education aims to enable individuals and communities to flourish.

The GGS Model for Positive Education is a framework that helps schools flourish my emphasizing: Positive Relationships, Positive Emotions, Positive Health, Positive Engagement, Positive Accomplishment, and Positive Purpose. The framework comes to life at the school on four levels, described as 'learn it,' 'live it,' 'teach it,' and 'embed it.'

From the outset, GGS has prioritized student and staff wellbeing through transformational educational programs, and through innovation and research in the field of Positive Education.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability


The beauty in this innovation lies in rediscovering and re-learning what the true purpose of education is. Wellbeing is essential to making teachers, staff, students, and parents happy and well-educated.


The field of positive schooling, is a growing area of research, with centres such as the Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. The International Positive Education Network report demonstrates the wide scale impact.


Principles of Positive Education are being used across the globe in Australia, UK, US, Singapore, China, India, Mexico, Bhutan, Peru, Spain, South Korea, New Zealand, Macedonia, and the United Arab Emirates.

Implementation steps

Learn it!
Learn how to understand and engage with the process of wellbeing.

'Learn it' refers to sharing opportunities as a community to understand and engage with the science of wellbeing. This includes appointing dedicated staff, exploring wellbeing frameworks, professional staff development, parent and community education, and establishing and growing networks.

Examples of schools successfully learning as a community include: training courses for new teachers and staff, termly booster sessions for staff and leadership, training opportunities for parents, Positive Education Discussion groups, and an extensive library of wellbeing books and journals.

Live it!
Learn how to enact wellbeing techniques.

This process helps someone enact wellbeing practices in their life through deliberate cultural, personal, and teaching process. Some examples of how schools 'live it' include: active participation in personally meaningful wellbeing activities, positive teaching practices actioned in the classroom, mindful meditations available to download via a staff portal, and invitations to attend weekly TED talk viewings related to the topic of wellbeing.

Teach it!
Teach wellbeing through Positive Education curriculum.

This process involves providing students with dedicated time to discoverand explore each of the key domains of wellbeing through sequenced curriculum, explicit teaching, coaching of students, and sharing of practices throughout communities and networks.

Examples of teaching Positive Education include: specific curriculums, Focus Days for each grade level, wellbeing concepts addressed within academic subjects, activities within co-curricular programs, integrating mindfulness meditations into classroom practice, and wellbeing taught or caught through positive teaching practices.

Embed it!
Make wellbeing an inherent part of school.

This process involves adopting long term, school wide policies and practices which support and nurture wellbeing within individuals and within the community. This is actioned through whole-school wellbeing metrics, organisational and student policies, communications, and integrating student support.

Examples of successfully imbedding Positive Education include: weaving wellbeing messages into assemblies and newsletters, including wellbeing as an agenda item in meetings, placing wellbeing into school policies, and measuring and analyzing student and staff wellbeing.

Spread of the innovation

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