‘Chill Skills’ at Yarrawonga primary schools

‘Chill Skills’ at Yarrawonga primary schools

Yarrawonga Health staff have been trained in the meditation, mood-gym style course known as ‘Chill Skills’ to be able to offer a space outside of normal school and COVID, so that the kids can simply just be ‘kids’.

In 2021, community suggestions were generated during the RESPOND Project group-model building sessions in Yarrawonga to assist with teaching local children strategies to improve their mental health and emotional regulation. RESPOND is a shared community approach to healthy children.

Four Yarrawonga Health staff attended the ‘Chill Skills’ and now run sessions at two local schools with the support of the school’s health and wellbeing team. Chill Skills have now been delivered to primary school children in Yarrawonga for just over a year with great success. Typically, the sessions occur just before lunch-time and run for two-hours. There have been some COVID disruptions, but it has largely been viewed as a program that must be run as a high priority. Children are chosen by the teachers to be referred to the six-week program, in groups no larger than ten participants.

Improving a child’s mental wellbeing contributes to their overall sense of belonging, good physical and mental wellbeing. Staff have observed positive changes in children as they learn to have fun through different activities such as clay-making, meditation, listening to imaginative stories and having a go at the ‘singing bowls’.

The objective of providing strategies to assist children to improve their mental health and emotional regulation is to prevent further disengagement from students in and out of the classroom and in sport and social settings. The Chill Skills program is interactive and inclusive of any child and has been noted as highly successful in both schools in Yarrawonga, despite interruptions associated with the pandemic.

The popularity of the Chill Skills program delivery in Yarrawonga has led to interest from the shire’s collaborative team members to potentially expand the program across the Moira Shire.

Contact the Health Promotion Team at Yarrawonga Health to discuss how you can engage schools to deliver the Chill Skills program by emailing Jennifer O’Brien or Siobhan Johnston.

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