Educators require wellbeing strategies to meet the learning needs of all students. Positive Education holds particular relevance for struggling students and in particular, students with complex needs as a result of chronic stress, trauma, abuse or neglect. Struggling students may experience school difficulties from deficits in their regulation or relational capacities required for effective learning. Positive Education research must be embedded in a developmental framework in order to form a holistic lens when re-engaging our students to education. The Berry Street Education Model is based on classroom strategies informed by Berry Street Victoria's approaches to trauma-informed learning and the science of wellbeing. Our research and practice model contributes to the field of Positive Education because it is strategy-based, multifaceted and systemic. It is unique because it strengthens teacher practice to reinforce and sustain cognitive and behavioural change, thereby re-engaging the young person to foster capacity and willingness for their academic achievement.
Tom Brunzell (MS, EdM, PhD candidate) has been a teacher, school leader, and education advisor in New York City and Melbourne. Currently he is the Senior Advisor Education and the leader of the Berry Street Education Model at the Berry Street Childhood Institute, Victoria. Tom presents internationally on topics of transforming school cultures, high expectations for differentiated instruction, trauma-informed practice, wellbeing and the application of positive psychology, and effective school leadership. He is also a PhD candidate at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne Graduate School of Education studying trauma-informed pedagogy, positive psychology, and their impacts on workplace meaning.
About Berry Street
Berry Street believes all children should have a good childhood. The Berry Street Childhood Institute contributes to this vision by collaboratively building and sharing knowledge, encouraging public dialogue and mobilising leadership.
Berry Street has been supporting vulnerable children and young people since 1877. Over our long history we have grown to meet increasing demand and adapted to meet new challenges. As the Australian economy and society become increasingly complex, the conditions of childhood are changing: many children are flourishing in the 21st century but the wellbeing of increasing numbers of children appears to be declining. Berry Street continues to provide children with care, protection, education and support as our core business but we know we must do more to avert the growing crisis for children who are at risk. We are seeking to broaden our impact on the lives of Australian children through greater advocacy, service innovation and knowledge sharing. The establishment of the Berry Street Childhood Institute in July 2012 was a key part of our commitment to help more children have a good childhood in Australia.