Western Region Schools Invited to Build Students’ Empowerment and Resilience


The Positive Living Skills initiative is being offered to more Western Region schools than ever before following a funding expansion for the program by Western NSW Primary Health Network (WNSW PHN).

Following the success of the program for 10 of the region’s Early Learning Services in 2019, the Positive Living Skills Primary School Wellbeing Program is being offered to local primary schools with full funding support for this evidence-based program with curriculum-mapped resources to support educators to teach students habitual skills to build social and emotional competence and maturity.

WNSW PHN Acting CEO, Robert Strickland, says the program’s success in 2019 made expanding funding for the Positive Living Skills Primary School Wellbeing Program definitely worthwhile.

“The positive results for the children of Forbes, Menindee, Brewarrina, Willington, Bourke, Broken Hill, Weilmoringle and Coonamble involved in 2019 proved that the benefits of the program are impossible to ignore, and we’re proud to be able to support a program that brings such improvements to the welfare of the region’s children.”

Schools participating in the Positive Livings Skills Primary School Wellbeing Program will gain access to the comprehensive flexible resource pool of 216 pre-planned learning experiences with matching resources covering Foundation to year 6, giving teachers a common language to teach mental wellbeing.

The initiative is designed not to add additional work for teachers. It is mapped to the curriculum and is easy for teachers to deliver while also supporting teachers with their own well-being.

Having lived for many years in Parkes and other rural locations in NSW, Program Founder Cath Shaw knows how hard people work and how difficult it is for some communities, especially with the additional recent challenges of drought, floods, fires, and COVID-19.

She is delighted that WNSW PHN is enabling more Western Region communities to join the more than 120 Educational sites across Australia now calling themselves Positive Living Skills members.

“When I found and implemented these Positive Living Skills, I wished I had known or learned them so much earlier in life, so I made it my mission to share them and help teachers, children and families, with help from psychologists, professionals and a program mentor.”

She added, “It is so pleasing to see how Positive Living Skills is now supporting a growing number of Australian communities as we move forward in our mission for real generational change in mental illness prevention, and we are very grateful to have this support from the Western NSW Primary Health Network.”

Lead researcher for Positive Living Skills at Charles Sturt University, Dr Elizabeth Murray, who is also senior Lecturer and Associate Head of School has seen the results firsthand.

Dr Murray says such development is vital at an early age.

“Positive wellbeing and mental health are areas of significant importance for children and young people in Australia, who have experienced increased social and emotional demands over the last two decades. The Positive Living Skills program supports children to develop a strong sense of self-worth and a broad social-emotional skill set early on, which is vital to their long-term wellbeing.”

Kym Goodall, Director at Bright Beginnings early Learning Centre at Forbes is loving the positive impact of the PLS program.

“We have noticed an increase in children who struggle to express and handle their emotions effectively over the past few years, how this impacts upon their daily lives, and also how it impacts on families too. Even within a few weeks of implementing the program, we began to see small changes in the children’s behaviour as they became more confident and knowledgeable with being able to understand and express their emotions, showing more consideration for others and developing a greater understanding of how their behaviour can have an impact on those around them as they share what they have learnt with their families.”

Active supporter of the program, Principal of Wellington Public School, Darryl Thompson, is particularly happy to see the Positive Living Skills Initiative expanding.

“Wellington Public School started implementing the Positive Living Skills Primary School Wellbeing program across the whole school in Term 2 of 2019 and I am very happy to say that the program has definitely lived up to its name and has become an integral part of our school culture. It’s wonderful to see the Positive Living Skills initiative expand into more Western NSW communities so that more families can benefit from the positive influence the program provides.”

While Expressions of Interest are open until Friday the 18th of June 2021, around half of the available positions in the program have already been filled, and schools are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. Eligible schools will be prioritised based on their date of application.

Western Region Primary School wishing to take advantage of the fully-funded Positive Living Skills Wellbeing Program can register at