About the Program

​​​Get GRIT is an evidence informed early intervention and prevention program that teaches children the knowledge and skills to maintain positive mental health and well-being. The program teaches children to; develop a growth mindset, enjoy healthy and positive relationships, manage their emotions, be resilient, persistent, tackle life's challenges with grit and to reach their true potential. 

 

Program ​Overview

The Get GRIT Program...

  • Empowers children with the knowledge and skills to maintain a healthy mind and positive well-being.

  • Teaches children how to identify and positively manage emotions.

  • Teaches positive coping skills.

  • Normalises feelings and reactions to different emotions.

  • Builds emotional resilience.

  • Encourages children to reflect on their beliefs and thinking about themselves and other people and their resulting behaviours.

  • Teaches children to develop a growth mindset and understand the power of their thoughts and how their beliefs influence what they can achieve.

  • Encourages children to tackle life’s challenges with a positive attitude and mindset.

  • Teaches children to recognize the physiological signs and symptoms of anxiety and how to overcome thinking traps.

  • Encourages children to practise gratitude.

  • Teaches developmentally appropriate social skills so that children can enjoy healthy and positive relationships.

  • Teaches conflict resolution skills.

  • Promotes emotional well-being through small group learning.

  • Encourages a whole family approach.

  • May be adapted to individual counselling/coaching sessions.

  • Suitable in health and educational settings.

  • Implemented by a trained health or educational professional (teacher, psychologist, counsellor).

 

 

Program Materials

  • Lower Primary Program Module

  • Upper Primary Program Module

  • Get GRIT's self-guided journal

  • Parent communication

  • Marketing materials

 

Rationale

The Get GRIT program was developed by School Guidance Counsellor Michele Lund in response to parents and teachers seeking a program that teaches children the necessary social and emotional skills to maintain a healthy mind and positive emotional well-being. One in two Australians will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2008).  Surprisingly, half of all mental health conditions in adulthood begin before the age of 14 (Lawrence et la., 2015). Childhood is a time of rapid growth and provides a window of opportunity for future well-being and mental health. 

 

A child’s social and emotional development is the foundation for learning and has a significant impact on how they cope and enjoy school life (Ashdown & Bernard, 2012).  Social and emotional skills, like any other skill, need to be explicitly taught and practised.  Research has demonstrated that children who are explicitly taught social and emotional skills are more likely to succeed at school, develop healthy relationships and are less likely to develop mental health problems (Mindess, Chen & Brenner, 2008). 

 

The program aims to develop students’ social, emotional and communication skills for improved relationships and academic outcomes.  Learning is a social process and research has found that students who have well-developed emotional skills and social awareness experience improved academic outcomes (Ashdown & Bernard, 2012).  Furthermore, the development of positive social capabilities plays a vital role in fostering children’s mental health and well-being (Mindess, Chen & Brenner, 2008).  The development of social competence in children is a concern for educators as more and more students are identified as experiencing difficulties in social and emotional development (Ashdown & Bernard, 2011).

​Theoretical Principles Behind the Get GRIT Program

​The Get GRIT Program is based on strategies and evidence-based techniques drawn from Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Growth Mindset theory.

 

​​Cognitive Behaviour Therapy

 

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) involves a combination of cognitive and behavioural concepts and techniques through a process of re-education (Corey, 2013).   CBT links cognitions to feelings and behaviours and encourages students to reflect on their beliefs and thinking about themselves and other people and their resulting behaviours.  CBT can help break the cycle of unhelpful negative thoughts, feelings and behaviours (Squires & Caddick, 2012). CBT assists students by giving them the tools to enable them to control their behaviour by building appropriate social competency through techniques such as relaxation training, problem solving approaches, social skills training and self-regulation approaches (Ghafoori and Tracz 2001).

 

Applications to practice

 

CBT can help students to:

 

  • Challenge distortions in thinking (Squires & Caddick, 2012)

  • Assist students in generating solutions to problems (Squires & Caddick, 2012)

  • Identify triggers and modify behaviour responses that are more appropriate to ambiguous situations (Squires and Caddick, 2012)

  • Help students see the positives and negatives of aggressive and non-aggressive responses (Squires & Caddick, 2012)

  • Improve self-monitoring to recognise arousal states and raise awareness of behaviour (Yeo & Choi, 2011)

  • Build appropriate social skills and tools to control their behaviour (Ghafoori & Tracz, 2001)

Growth Mindset Theory

 

Growth Mindset is a concept developed by Carol Dweck, a professor of Psychology at Standford University.  A Growth mindset is the belief that a person’s abilities and intelligence can be developed through practice, hard work, dedication and motivation (Dweck, 2008). A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence taken alone will lead to success and that they are fixed and cannot be developed or improved upon (Dweck, 2008). Changing the way students perceive their own abilities and potential can drastically improve their performance.  Too often students live in the now rather than the yet and as a result they focus on their limitations rather than their potential.

 

Social and Emotional Learning

 

The Get GRIT Program supports the personal and social general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum.  The program aims to develop skills in the four interrelated elements outlined in the Australian Curriculum, including self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social-management.

 

Social-Awareness

  • Appreciate diverse perspectives

  • Understand others’ emotional states and needs

 

Social-Management

  • Communicate effectively

  • Negotiate and resolve conflict

  • Work Collaboratively

 

Self-Awareness

  • Recognise emotions

 

​Self-Management

  • Express emotions appropriately

  • Develop self-discipline and set goals

  • Show initiative

  • Become confident, resilient and adaptable

 

What is GRIT?

 

The word grit is often used to describe resilience, perseverance and determination.  The Get GRIT Program aims to develop grit and more. GRIT is an acronym for Getting Along, Building Resilience, Identifying Emotions and Taking Responsibility. 

 

Participants will learn skills to:

 

Get Along

 

  • Establish and build positive relationships

  • Maintain friendships

  • Work collaboratively

  • Negotiate and resolve conflict

  • Be kind

  • Be assertive and stand up to bullies

 

Build Resilience

 

  • Persevere to overcome frustrations

  • Bounce back from adversities

  • Recognise the importance of their internal dialogue

  • Recognise how thoughts influence feelings and behaviour

 

Identify Emotions

 

  • Identify and recognise emotions

  • Regulate and manage emotional responses

  • Practise strategies to reduce anxiety and manage anger

  • Understand others’ emotional states and needs (empathy)

 

Take Responsibility

 

  • Develop a growth mindset

  • Make positive and responsible decisions

  • Develop self-discipline

  • Set goals

  • Take risks

  

Getting Along

Social skills, like any other skill, need to be taught and practised.  Children who enjoy positive, healthy relationships with their peers at school feel more connected and are less likely to be bullied.  Friendships provide critical support for a child’s social and emotional well-being.  Schools are social places and offer a unique social context whereby social skills are developed alongside academic learning.  Learning too is a social process and research has found that students who have well-developed social skills and social awareness experience improved academic outcomes.

Stages of Social Play

There are 6 stages of social play.  The first stage begins at birth, where a baby participates in Unoccupied Play, which involves babies making random movements with no clear purpose.  Solitary Play is the second stage which begins in infancy.  Solitary play, like the name suggests, involves children starting to play on their own.  Children may not notice other children sitting or playing nearby. The third stage, Onlooker Play, typically begins during the toddler years. Onlooker Play involves a child observing other children play.  They may attempt to interact, but there is no effort to join in. Parallel Play, typically begins during the toddler years and involves children playing side-by-side, with limited interaction.  They may pay attention to one another, while involved in their own play.  This stage is the foundation for more complex social stages of play.  The fifth stage of play is called Associative Play, which typically occurs around the ages of three to four years.  At this age, children become more interested in interacting with other children.  They may ask questions, talk about toys or have a common purpose such as building a tall tower together.  Social Play is the final stage of play and is where key relationships skills are learned, like cooperating, taking turns and solving problems.   By the time most children begin formal schooling, they are participating in social play. Children’s friendship needs and skills change and develop as they grow.  They will require adult support long after their childhood years. As they get older, their play becomes more complex, but there are key relationship skills required to maintain healthy relationships. 

These skills include:

• Co-operation (e.g. sharing, taking turns, following rules of play, winning and losing)

• Communication (e.g. starting conversations, listening actively, apologising to others)

• Understanding and managing feelings (e.g. expressing feelings, asking for what one needs/wants)

• Accepting and including others (e.g. helping others, playing fairly)

• Conflict Resolution skills

 

Children who are good at making and maintaining friendships practise these positive social skills.  Children who have difficulties with friendships often display the following behaviours;

• Physical aggression or playing too rough

• Interrupting and/or talking too much

• Bossy behavior

• Complaining and whining

• Showing off

• Poor sport when winning or losing a game

• Breaking rules of a game

 

Building Resilience

 

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from adversities.  It is the ability to cope when things don’t go to plan and to bounce back from a challenge.  


Resilience is;


• Bouncing back from difficulties 
• Being able to cope with what life throws at you 
• Taking risks and giving things a go 
• Dealing with challenges 
• Being adaptable 
• Being curious

 

Resilience is important for a child’s mental health and well-being.  Resilient children are better at managing stress, which is our typical response when we are faced with a challenge or a difficult situation.  All children are capable of being resilient.  Children build resilience through the development of social and emotional skills.  Specifically, by building their independence, by learning how to identify and manage their emotions, by experiencing and overcoming challenging situations, and by building positive and healthy relationships with others.


Identifying Emotions

A child’s ability to positively manage their emotions will have a huge impact on their quality of life.  Teaching children how to identify and manage their emotions develops resilience, self-regulation skills and supports positive mental health and well-being. Children who learn how to recognise and manage their emotions are more likely to succeed at school, develop healthy relationships and are also less likely to develop mental health problems.  Teaching children how to recognise and manage their feelings plays an important role in their social and emotional development.  


What is Self-regulation?


Self-regulation is the ability to regulate emotions, behaviours, attention and feelings.  It is the ability to control ourselves.  Children learn to regulate their feelings and behaviours by observing how their parents and carers regulate their own emotions.   Children need adults to help them manage their emotions. As children develop they learn how to self-regulate without the support of a parent or carer.  Children consistently need their own needs met by a responsive and empathetic adult in order for them to develop a positive self-image, to positively manage their emotions and get along with other children.
 

Taking Responsibility

Children can be encouraged to take responsibility for their learning by developing a mindset of growth, learning to be persistent and optimistic.   A growth mindset is the belief that a person’s abilities and intelligence can be developed through practice, hard work, dedication and motivation.  A fixed mindset is the belief that intelligence taken alone will lead to success and that they are fixed and cannot be developed or improved upon.  Changing the way a child perceives their own abilities and potential can drastically improve their performance.  Too often students live in the now rather than the yet and as a result they focus on their limitations rather than their potential.

Children with a growth mindset are more likely to;

• Learn from their mistakes

• Be motivated to succeed

• Learn more

• Learn faster

• Put forth more effort

• Take challenges head on

• Take risks

• Seek feedback

 

Overview of Program

 

Emotional Development: Self-Awareness and Self-Management

 

Lesson 1: Identifying and Recognising Emotions

 

  • Identify personal qualities

  • Appreciate diversity

  • Recognise similarities and differences between themselves and others

  • Identify emotions in themselves and others

  • Recognise the body’s reaction to feelings: body cues

  • Understand how and when to assist others (empathy development)

 

Lesson 2: Regulating and Managing Emotional Responses

 

  • Recognise the body’s reaction to anger 

  • Monitor emotions: Emotional Thermometer

  • Identify personal strategies to manage anger (High Five Choices)

  • Practise deep breathing, visualization, guided meditation and massage

 

Lesson 3: Internal Dialogue

 

  • Distinguish the difference between thoughts and feelings

  • Learn the power of their internal dialogue

  • Identify I Can Thoughts and I Can’t Thoughts

  • Learn how to persevere to overcome frustrations by changing I Can’t thoughts to I Can thoughts

 

Lesson 4: Thoughts, Feelings, Behaviour

 

  • Recognise how our thoughts influence our feelings

  • Recognise how our feelings influence our behaviour

  • Identify catastrophic thoughts

 

Lesson 5: Growth Mindset

 

  • Explain difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset

  • Explore the power of yet by changing I Can’t thoughts to I Can’t Yet

  • Overcome obstacles and frustrations

  • I Can’t Yet Goal setting

 

Lesson 6:  Managing Anxiety

 

  • Recognise physiological signs and symptoms of anxiety

  • Understand how the brain responds to fear and anxiety

  • Understand how to recognise and overcome thinking traps

  • Three steps to fight worry bullies

 

Social Development: Social-Awareness and Social-Management

 

Lesson 7: Establishing and Building Positive Relationships

 

  • Initiating play

  • Getting along skills (sharing, turn taking, winning and losing, accepting others, sharing conversation)

  • Identify qualities in a friend

 

Lesson 8: Maintaining Friendships and Working Collaboratively

 

  • Discuss how to maintain friendships

  • Communicate effectively

  • Win and lose gracefully

  • Recognise the importance of being honest

 

Lesson 9: Negotiating and Resolving Conflict

 

  • Identify helpful and unhelpful ways to resolve conflict

  • Make positive and responsible decisions

  • Identify 5 ways to negotiate and resolve conflict

 

Lesson 10: Responding to Bullying and Bucket Filling

 

  • Practise being assertive and how to say ‘no’

  • Learn how to respond to bullies and how to speak up

  • Practise giving and receiving compliments

 Lesson Delivery

 

The program consists of 10 lessons approximately 60 minutes in duration, depending on the size of the group and group dynamics. The program can be offered over ten 1 hour sessions or five 2 hour sessions. 

 

Age Appropriate Groups

 

Get GRIT offers a program for lower primary children (aged 5-8 years) and upper primary children (aged 9-12 years).  Grouping children of a similar age and stage of development is important, as this will guide the pace of the lessons as well as the group discussions and activities.  Children of a similar age will be able to relate more easily and learn from each other's experiences.  Common playground issues and emotional issues that children experience are often developmental.  Learning in context with participants of a similar age and stage of development also provides students with the opportunities to practise new skills.

The lower primary and upper primary program are very similar.  The content is the same, as are many of the activities. There are some variations, so it is important to following the appropriate module.  However, the most significant difference between the lower primary and the upper primary program is how the teacher/facilitator delivers the lesson.  Children in lower primary will require shorter transitions between activities, they may have shorter attention spans, require more scaffolding and prompting during questioning and discussions, as well as requiring the facilitator to explain difficult concepts in simple language with more examples.

Group Size

 

The optimum group size is 4 - 6 children.  Groups should not exceed 6 participants. 

 

A small intimate group of 4 -6 participants is critical for:

  • Normalisation

  • Learning with and from other children's experiences

  • Developing effective communication skills

  • Practising social and communication skills

  • Gaining more understanding of their own thoughts and behaviour around others

  • Creating social bonds and new friends

  • Behaviour management 

  • To avoid facilitator burn-out

 

The process of normalisation is one of the most important reasons why GRIT is best taught in a small group setting.  By normalising children's feelings and thoughts children realise that their own feelings, thoughts and behaviours are not unusual and that there is nothing 'wrong' with them.

One-on-one Coaching

Get GRIT can be taught one-on-one with a trained facilitator/coach with an emphasis on a whole-family approach (including parents, siblings and extended family) rather than on the individual.  A whole-family approach steers away from the view of 'what is wrong with the child and how do we fix it'.  A whole-family approach involves teaching the child on-one-on for the first half of the lesson, followed by parents and siblings joining in for the remaining half to practise the skills as a family unit.

Behaviour Management 

Guiding Principles for Behaviour Management

Many of the students who enrol in the Get GRIT Program are either having a hard time at school or at home.  They may be experiencing low self-esteem or lacking confidence, they may have a fixed mindset, experiencing anxiety or difficulties with friendships.  Which is why a positive behaviour approach to behaviour management is so important.  We believe a positive classroom environment is the most effective way to promote learning and well-being.

Get GRIT’s principles for behaviour management are as follows:

  1.  Build a positive rapport with your students

 

Building relationships with your students will have a huge impact on behaviour.  Building a positive rapport involves developing a connection with each student.  Building a rapport with some students will come easily and naturally, while others will require more time and effort.

5 ways to build rapport

  1. Find common ground by asking questions

  2. Show genuine interest

  3. Be friendly

  4. Give genuine compliments

  5. Be yourself

 

First impressions.

Your first impression is important to your student and their parents, but especially to your student.  When you first meet your student, greet both parent and child at the same time, wishing them both a warm welcome.  Before you continue your greeting with the child’s parent, get down to the child’s level to meet them eye to eye and introduce yourself and start a short conversation.  Ask them how their weekend has been, give them a compliment, or try to find a common ground.  This will not only start building a rapport, but will also ensure their parent or caregiver feels comfortable leaving their child in your care.

2. Clear and explicit teaching of expected behaviours

Developing shared rules within any group is important as it allows ownership of how things will run as well as being used for accountability when rules are not adhered to. It is important to spend time during the first session to write the group guidelines together.  Ask each student to sign the bottom of the page if they agree to follow the guidelines.  Before each lesson, review the group guidelines and ensure the guidelines are on display during the lesson.  If a child is being disruptive or non-compliant, direct their attention to the guidelines.

 

3. Positive Reinforcement

Focusing on the positive aspects of student behaviour, increases the likelihood of the behaviour you are seeking.  By giving your attention to positive behaviour, you are reminding students of appropriate behaviour.  Give positive feedback and use positive language to build confidence and self-esteem.

 

 4. Planned response to inappropriate behaviour

Discipline is about teaching the skills to be self-disciplined.  If a child makes a poor choice during a lesson, take the opportunity to teach the appropriate social and emotional skill.  Instead of being punitive, offer the learner the opportunity for reflection, development and growth. This also includes providing the opportunity for the child to make amends if harm has been caused.  There is always a reason for problem behaviour, whether it be difficulty with communicating, an attempt to satisfy a need or want or an indication that their needs are not being met.

Parent/Caregiver Lesson Overviews

Parent and carer lesson/session overviews include background information, key concepts taught and activities for home.  Parents receive, preferable via email, the lesson overview prior to each lesson. 

Get GRIT’s Self-guided Journal

The Get GRIT program is about working together in small groups and the lessons involve fun, interactive activities, including stories, games, short video clips, role-plays and group discussions.  There is limited worksheet and ‘chalk and talk’ involved in the program.

 

Success of early intervention programs require parent support to reinforce the newly learned skills and to provide opportunities to practise these skills.  The journal promotes practising these skills as a whole family.

 

Each child who participates in the program will receive Get GRIT’s self-guided journal.  The journal plays a very important role in the program. The Get GRIT Journal will provide parents with the tools to better connect with their child and teach life-long skills which will serve them in every area of their life.   Children are encouraged to meet each week with a journal mate (parent or member of their family) who they can share their journaling experience with. The role of the journal mate is to listen, to share experiences, and to guide the child through each lesson.  

 

The journal provides reflection and rehearsal of skills outside of the group sessions.  The skills taught in the program are life-long skills and who better to empower to teach these skills then the child’s parent or care-giver.  The journal follows the lesson plans closely and parents are encouraged to complete the journal with their child.  Parents may decide to complete the journal each week or begin the journal after the child has participated in the program.  Get GRIT values parents as the child’s first teachers. Get GRIT also believes that behaviour change in a child begins with the adult.  The journal encourages families to support their child’s social and emotional development by providing opportunities to learn and practise these skills together to prepare their child with the inner resources for life’s challenges. 

 

Structure of the Program

It is important to follow the lesson structure and sequence.  Each lesson is comprehensive and detailed with specific terminology explained in ‘child friendly’ terms.  Each lesson builds upon the learning from the previous lessons.  The social development component of the program requires the skills and knowledge from the first six lessons on emotional development.

Social-emotional competency

  • Based on the Personal and Social Capabilities in the Australian Curriculum.  The key ideas for Personal and Social Capabilities are organized into four interrelated elements in the learning continuum including self-management, self-awareness, social- management and social awareness.

 

Learning intent

  • Clearly describes what students should know, understand, and be able to do as a result of the learning and teaching activities.

 

Key vocabulary

  • Key vocabulary that will help students to expand their knowledge on the topic.

 

Resources

  • Resources required for the activities in the lesson. 

 

Background information

  •  Key information about the content and techniques taught in the lesson.

 

Lesson plan

  • Sequence of activities to teach the key concepts and skills in the lesson.

Gratitude Attitude

 

Starting in Lesson 2 each lesson begins with practising a gratitude attitude.  This simple activity encourages mindfulness and also is training students to be positive. Gratitude is a fundamental component of mindfulness. Mindfulness can improve emotional regulation and cognitive focus as well as improve attention.  Being mindful also helps students to calm down when they are upset and to make better decisions.

Preparing for Each Lesson

 

It is important to prepare for each lesson by reading through the lesson plan and familiarising yourself with the content of each lesson.  It is important that all resources are made and ready to use for the lesson.  Some resources require cutting, printing and laminating.  Ensure all books and resources are purchased prior to offering the program.

References

Ashdown, D. M., & Bernard, M. E. (2012). Can explicit instruction in social and emotional learning skills benefit the social-emotional development, well-being, and academic achievement of young children?. Early Childhood Education Journal, 39(6), 397-405. 

Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2008). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 2007 (4326.0). Canberra: Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Bernard, M. E., Stephanou, A., & Urbach, D. (2007). ASG student social and emotional health report. Australian Scholarships Group Friendly Society Limited.

Capuzzi, D., & Gross, D. R.. (2002). Introduction to group counseling (3rd ed.). Denver, Colo: Love Publishing Co.

Corey, G. (2013). Theory and practice of counseling and psychotherapy (9th ed.). Pacific Grove CA: Brooks/Cole.

Denham, S. A. (2007). Dealing with feelings: How children negotiate the worlds of emotions and social relationships. Cognition, Brain, Behavior, 11(1), 1-48.

Dweck, Carol S.. (2008) Mindset :the new psychology of success New York : Ballantine Books,

Elbertson, N. A., Brackett, M. A., & Weissberg, R. P. (2009). School-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programming: Current perspectives. In Second international handbook of educational change (pp. 1017-1032). Springer Netherlands.

Ghafoori, B., & Tracz, S. M. (2001). Effectiveness of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy in Reducing Classroom Disruptive Behaviors: A Meta-Analysis. California State University.

Lawrence D, Johnson S, Hafekost J, Boferhove De Hann K, Sawyer M, Zubrick SR. (2015). The Mental Health of Children and Adolescents. Report on the second Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing. Canberra: Department of Health.

Mindess, M., Chen, M. H., & Brenner, R. (2008). Social-emotional learning in the primary curriculum. Young Children, 63(6), 56-60.

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment,Training and Youth Affairs (Australia). (2008). Melbourne declaration on educational goals for young australians. Melbourne: Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs.

Samanci, O. (2010). Teacher views on social skills development in primary school students. Education, 131(1), 147-157. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/860367832?accountid=14723 

Squires, G., & Caddick, K. (2012). Using group cognitive behavioural therapy intervention in school settings with pupils who have externalizing behavioural difficulties: an unexpected result. Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, 17(1), 25-45.

Wittmer, J., Clark, M. A., & Sorenson, D. L. (2007). Managing your school counseling program: K-12 developmental strategies (3rd ed.). Minneapolis, MN: Educational Media Corporation.