Reasons behind Shipley’s Positive Education Integration

As we learned more about Positive Education, it became clear that Shipley has always been committed to the philosophy underlying Positive Education. However, there is now a scientific framework as well as evidence-based education practices and tools to better strengthen the excellent programs and initiatives we already have in place. Using Dr. Seligman’s well-being model, PERMA, we are able to provide our students and teachers with the knowledge and means to improve each component of their well-being. 

PERMA is composed of five core elements that are necessary for psychological well-being and happiness. Positive Emotions is the most obvious element connected with happiness. This model emphasizes the importance of focusing on the positive aspects of life instead of the negative ones. Reminding children to center their attention on the highs in their lives can offset the stress and challenges they’re going through. Engagement is a little harder to define. Students can experience engagement or flow by becoming absorbed in an enjoyable and challenging task, one that causes them to lose sense of time. This level of engagement is healthy and conducive to thriving within school and beyond. Building authentic PositiveRelationshipsand social connections are vital to our well-being as well. These healthy relationships potentiate positive experiences in life and cushion challenging ones to be able to bounce back from adversities. The fourth ingredient is MeaningandpurposeIt highlights the value of one’s existence and the search for meaning in life – a sense that we are dedicated to and driven by a purpose larger than our individual goals. The last and final piece of PERMA is Achievement. The satisfaction a student gets from crafting a goal that is aligned with a calling or vocation, using character strengths to achieve that objective, and then finally reaching that goal, is overwhelming. Creating goals and achieving them builds self-efficacy and provides a sense of accomplishment, building resilience within each student along the way.
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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.