Positive Schools

Master Class (Day 2)

Main Stage (Day 1)


The Reach Foundation


VIC day one, main stage 12.00 - 12.30


Michelle McQuaid (accompanied by Emily Johnson, senior facilitator)


Investigating the need to incorporate contemporary youth culture in positive education curriculums

How do schools ensure positive education curriculums are fresh, engaging, and as relevant as possible for students?Schools across Australia are embracing the principles of positive psychology and incorporating positive education into their curriculums. These curriculums seek to teach the science of positive psychology and introduce students to the various ways they can apply these principles into their everyday lives.


With this experience of positive education, many schools have identified the need to make the science of positive psychology as relevant, personal, and immediately applicable for students as possible. One method of achieving this is to incorporate peer-developed and delivered programs into these pos-ed curriculums.


Reach seeks to broaden the application of positive psychology theory by incorporating elements of contemporary youth culture into its peer-to-peer school-based programs. It has been observed by partnering schools that this approach can form a valuable complement to whole-of-school positive education curriculums by accelerating the experiential-learning opportunities for students.


Reach proposes a 3-step formula to ensure the effective application of positive psychology principles for adolescents:


  1. The space

Create a safe and supportive space where students are encouraged to express themselves openly and honestly, without judgment.


  1. Relevant youth-friendly content

Ask yourself “how would a teenager apply this principle into their life?” and re-craft established positive education interventions  to ensure they are as relevant and youth-focused as possible.


  1. The power of the group

Harness the power of the group by debriefing the application of positive psychology theories within the class setting to make the change achieved by positive psychology interventions more enduring.


Independent research confirms that when compared with controls immediately after the participation in a Reach program, young people report improved positive emotions (pleasure), significantly enhanced life-meaning and improved engagement with life. As the promotion of engagement and meaning over time can be instrumental in reducing the incidence of mental illness, and optimising young people’s opportunity to thrive, these outcomes are welcome for any positive educational wellbeing program..


Presenters will provide educators with the strategies that have been used by Reach to engage and positively impact students for nearly two decades.



About Michelle

Michelle McQuaid is a workplace and wellbeing expert who is a best-selling author, a highly sought after trainer and a playful change activator.  She fuses the emerging sciences of positive psychology and neurobiology into practical, tested actions that anyone can take to create enjoyable well-being habits that last. 


Michelle’s blend of real-world successes, actionable advice and enthusiasm for life ensure she’s a favorite with organizations, schools and professional women around the world.  Her experiences about how to bring out the best in people have been featured in Forbes, the Harvard Business Review, the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Boss Magazine, The Age, Women’s Agenda, Wellbeing Magazine and more.


Michelle rode the dot com wave, became the youngest ever General Manager for one of the world’s largest advertising houses and climbed to the top of some of the largest corporate ladders in Australia, London and New York.  Now she commits her time to helping organizations big and small to improve the well-being and performance of people at work.


A passionate advocate for youth, Michelle also sits on the board of The Reach Foundation and Play for Life and partners with schools implementing positive education approaches.  She was recently awarded the title of Honorary Senior Fellow in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne in recognition of her expertise and commitment.


She holds a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania where she studied alongside the field’s founder Martin Seligman and is currently completing her PhD under the supervision of David Cooperrider; the founder of Appreciate Inquiry.


Michelle lives to help people dig deep, move beyond the mirrored surface, and finally discover what it truly takes to flourish with confidence.  She currently resides by the beach in Melbourne, where she lives with her incredibly patient husband and their two mischievous boys who bring out the best in her.







Please book early to ensure you secure your place at the most important Positive Schools Conference yet.