Positive Psychology

In 2016 our focus is not merely on positive emotions, gratitude, strengths, and “feeling good”.  It is about holistic living and holistic education.  This includes understanding the value and importance of so-called “negative” emotions (anger is key for social justice, sadness and disappointments are part of the human experience) and looks to constructive ways we can manage our emotional responses to live well.

Our goal is to equip students with a range of strategies they can use in their daily life at school, as well as beyond the gates. The scope and sequence of positive education across The Peninsula School ensures age appropriate learning for every student, and ongoing development with relevant life skills.  

This year we are introducing a number of new resources and new programs, including Kimochis and BounceBack! in our Junior Years, as well as expanding our explicit Positive Psychology classes across the Middle Years 5 – 8.  

We look forward to running a number of workshops with staff throughout the year, and are always open to your feedback and suggestions.

For any further information on Positive Psychology and Positive Education at The Peninsula School, please contact our Director of Positive Education, Ms Therese Joyce.


Study finds10 year olds more resilient than 15 year olds

The Science Behind Mindfulness 

Read Seven Ways Of Increasing Gratitude In Children 

These Happiness Habits align extremely well with Martin Seligman’s PERMA model of wellbeing which underpins our Positive Psychology program. They are 8 routines which are worth practising daily. 

Read "Turn that frown upside down', an interesting positive psychology article in The Age.

Read Six ways to be a Happier Parent

Read Messages To Teach Young Women About Happiness

Read positive parenting tips about how to support and encourage children to do their best in school.


Dr Andrew Fuller at Peninsula


We hosted clinical psychologist, Dr Andrew Fuller, at the School who gave a fabulous presentation to our parents on the topic of “Raising Resilient Families”. Andrew, who has been described as “an interesting mix of Billy Connolly, Tim Winton and Frasier Crane”, both entertained and educated the audience at the same time whilst giving advice to parents about issues that present from early childhood through to the adolescent years. Andrew’s talk reiterated the benefit of focusing on each child’s strengths and the importance of finding things to talk about with children that affirm in their minds that they are loved and valued. He also emphasised the importance of parents teaching their children how to lose graciously from time to time in order to build levels of resilience. Read his handouts  Resilient Families, and From Can't Do to Can Do.


TPS highly acclaimed! 

Associate Professor Lea Waters, from the University of Melbourne, has been assisting with our Positive Psychology program since it's inception in 2010. We were delighted to receive this validation from her recently.

"I have been working with The Peninsula School since 2010, and I believe it to be a world class example of a positive psychology school.

The school offers a formal positive psychology curriculum in Year 7 and Year 8 and has positive psychology implicitly interwoven from K-12.The science and principles of positive psychology have been infused into many key areas of the school and have extended beyond the classroom to also assist staff and parents.

All staff at The Peninsula School have been trained in positive psychology and there are many ways for parents to learn about positive psychology, ranging from the positive psychology parent nights, Parent/Teacher interviews, the school’s website and monthly newsletters. In this regard, I believe that The Peninsula School has become a Centre of Excellence.

The unique approach to positive psychology at The Peninsula School has led to higher levels of wellbeing and engagement in students, staff and leadership.

Importantly, Peninsula has shared its positive psychology journey with other schools by inviting them to professional development sessions and offering learning tours to their staff.

The school has also presented at National and International Positive Psychology conferences."

Associate Professor Lea Waters 2013

Sam Cawthorne visits The Peninsula School

    We hosted highly acclaimed Youth Resilience presenter Sam Cawthorn whose presentation on overcoming adversity by adopting a positive mindset was widely acclaimed by the students and staff across the campus.

Sam spoke of how he has overcome the horrific consequences of a near fatal road accident by drawing on his strengths of resilience and optimism.


Positive Psychology at The Peninsula School

When asked what parents want for their children, not surprisingly, the answer almost always indicates that they want their children to be happy, healthy and successful.

The Peninsula School is very committed to the development of the whole person. The well being of our students and staff and the provision of a leading edge education for all underpin all that we do at the School. Optimism, resilience, confidence, creativity and leadership are some of the many strengths that we look to engender in our students, in addition to fostering a love of lifelong learning.

In a nutshell, we aim to produce well educated and well rounded, resilient individuals who are capable of flourishing personally and professionally, and who are well equipped to contribute to society in a satisfying and meaningful way.

What is Positive Psychology?

Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths and virtues that enable individuals and communities to thrive. Positive Psychology focuses on cultivating increased levels of happiness and fulfilment regardless of one’s circumstances. Simply put, it is the study of ‘what is right with life’. Click here to view the 24 character strengths chart.

Positive Education at The Peninsula School

The Peninsula School places a huge emphasis on building mutually respectful relationships and connectedness within our community. We understand that positive teacher-student relationships are a key factor in student achievement and enhanced academic performance.

Throughout 2011, all Peninsula School Staff underwent an intensive training course in the principles of Positive Psychology. To promote positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment the School, from ELC to Year 12, has adopted a whole school positive psychology approach to teaching and learning.

Whilst there are numerous examples of implicit and explicit positive psychology teaching and learning activities already occurring throughout the School, the formal introduction of this program was fully operational from the beginning of 2012.

An Informed Scientific Approach

The Peninsula School is informed, and staff are trained, by a prominent Australian expert in this field, Associate Professor Lea Waters from The University of Melbourne. The scientific evidence-based approach to positive psychology training draws on empirical research findings of psychology, neuroscience and education.  This research suggests that when applied in schools, student engagement, wellbeing and academic performance are greatly enhanced.

The encouragement that Positive Psychology gives to us to dwell on the things that are going well in our lives, rather than on the negatives, is well encapsulated in our school motto 'Hold fast to that which is good'

Suggested reading for parents

The Optimistic Child by Martin Seligman
The Resilience Factor by Karen Reivich
The How of Happiness by Sonia Lubomirksy
Positivity by Barbara Fredrickson