Learn it, Live it, Teach it, Embed it: Implementing a whole school approach to foster positive mental health and wellbeing through Positive Education


  • Erin Hoare Institute of Positive Education Geelong Grammar School
  • David Bott Institute of Positive Education Geelong Grammar School
  • Justin Robinson Institute of Positive Education Geelong Grammar School




Whole school approach, implementation science, Positive Education, student wellbeing


Schools provide unique environments for the implementation of interventions to support the mental health and wellbeing of young people. While promising as an intervention setting, the school system is inherently complex, and any successful intervention or programme must account for, and adapt to, such complexity. Whole-school approaches that comprise multi-components and promote collaborative and collective action across the school system appear promising for accounting for these complexities. This paper reports the updated implementation processes of one whole-school approach, the Geelong Grammar School Applied Model for Positive Education, for fostering positive mental health and wellbeing among the school community. Drawing upon existing frameworks and from successes observed in the fields of Social and Emotional Learning, mental health prevention, and health promotion, adapted to meet the goals of Positive Education, we propose four interconnecting, cyclical processes; Learn it, Live it, Teach it, Embed it. In combination, these processes assist schools in designing and reviewing ongoing implementation. This study extends the literature to date by synthesising organisational, systems change, education, and anecdotal evidence to identify barriers to implementation and subsequent outcomes of missed, or poorly executed processes. While schools will be unique in factors such as context, specific needs, and available resources, it is envisaged that reporting these processes and potential barriers to success may assist schools with their own future implementation endeavours.


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