Building Resilience and Social-Emotional Skills in Children and adolescents

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Aussie Optimism is an evidence-based program designed to build resilience and social-emotional skills in children and adolescents from 1st grade through 8th grade. Developed in 1997 at Curtin University, the Aussie Optimism program can be implemented by classroom teachers and has four grade-specific components that are taught once a week during the academic year: 1) Feelings and Friends (1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade); 2) Positive Thinking skills (4th and 5th Grade); 3) Social Life Skills (6th and 7th grade ); 4) Optimistic Thinking Skills (7th and 8th grade). Based on a positive psychology approach, the learning activities include diverse strategies (e.g., group discussions, role-plays, and skills practice sessions) to help children develop self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision-making, social skills, and a positive thinking that promotes self-esteem and improve coping skills.

Research evidence suggests that the Aussie Optimistic program also has the potential to reduce depressive and anxiety symptoms, and improve emotional resilience up to 6 months following the program (Roberts, Kane, Bishop, Cross, Fenton, & Hart, 2010).

Roberts, C. M., Kane, R., Bishop, B., Cross, D., Fenton, J., & Hart, B. (2010). The prevention of anxiety and depression in children from disadvantaged schools. Behaviour research and therapy, 48(1), 68-73.