Sarah’s passion is to connect with educators and students within their own context.
She uses her teaching background to bring strengths-based counselling strategies into classrooms, assemblies, professional learning, staff meetings and parent workshops.
SUMMARY OF WORKSHOPS & TALKS
These workshops have also been quite powerful when teamed with a classroom activity beforehand so parents can learn the tools their children have learnt. For example, Flip Your Lid is a great tool for showing children how their brains and then bodies react to emotions; being scared, nervous, anxious, excited, frustrated, angry etc. and our brains get hijacked by our emergency system which in turn makes our bodies react and negative thinking begin. In the workshop, students, staff and parents experience what happens to our brains, how we can predict and prepare for future occurrences and tools to calm ourselves down afterwards.
Below is a summary of topics with the targeted year group. To foster a greater understanding for the whole family, here Sarah has taken into consideration those parents with children of primary and high school age. Parent workshops work best with parents choosing one or two of the following topics that are currently suitable for their family/school/children. Naturally, if a topic that parents would like to dive into isn’t listed, Sarah can create a workshop especially for that topic answering any questions and exploring practical solutions for each family.
Please note: parent below refers to carers/guardians/aunts/uncles/grandparents/significant others in students’ lives.
TECHNOLOGY USE & MULTITASKING
We think we can!
Targeted Year Group: 3-12, yet can especially work with students struggling to maintain grades, poor concentration, needing to make change to their routines.
Tertiary & young adult education and vocational contexts – interesting look at how technology has changed throughout their lifetime & that impact on relationships and studying. Fabulous look at how often we distract ourselves with technology!
Research has shown that multitasking is the same as being drunk! Talk goes through the research, examples of how we think we can multitask & strategies to counteract our desire to do so.
One of Sarah’s research interests & topic of her PhD pilot study is adolescent use of technology, whether parents deem their use appropriate & self-regulation. This talk brings together contemporary research around technology use, misuse, overuse and effective use; data from sleep studies, Sarah’s research and experiential examples of how multitasking is divided attention not being efficient.
Role modelling the desired behaviour is the most powerful method to teach our children. Also calls parents to attention & reflect on their own technology use. Talk would focus on role modelling, practical steps to manage technology, constructing collaborative boundaries & answering parent questions.
FLIP YOUR LID
Targeted Year Group: K-12 & tertiary/ young adults neuroscience can be taught to all ages!
Dr Dan Siegel’s simple explanation of the brain; how our emergency response system disconnects our brain to protect us – from life threatening situations – not so handy when one needs to sit an exam/say speech/compete for sport/music etc. for children. And parents raise awareness to their own triggers and how to hold it together after bonkers days/nights/weeks/small children/big children/life! Focuses on self-regulation, triggers, normal responses to emotions & exploring different tools to help ourselves calm down (reconnect our brains) in different contexts – for kids – playground, classroom, home (mum’s house/Dad’s house), before race/performance etc. For parents – when chores aren’t done, house is in chaos, kids are about to kill each other and then you stub your little toe.
STRENGTHS & VALUES EXPLORATION
Targeted Year Group: Adapted for 5-12, & tertiary/ young adults. Especially good for those about to face challenge, important exam/performance/ competition. Also imperative for career exploration.
A fun parent talk, strengths-based parenting, connecting to the strengths that our children have to help them (and parents) through challenges, stages that our children are at with tools to not only manage but reconnect as parents and a family. Seeing how we have worked through past mistakes/challenge/stuff ups & how we can use those strengths for our next challenge (based upon Dr Lea Waters research & latest book – The Strength Switch).
THE SHIFT - THE BYSTANDER TO THE HELPER EFFECT
Targeted Year Group: 6-10 – especially fitting for grades 6-8 going through the trickiest times of mean girl relationships. Boys relate to finding your mob.
Empowering talk helping parents to support their children while they navigate the shifting alliances of girl relationships, difference between boy & girl groups, those not finding their mob, difficulties with the popular group/person – Are they popular or powerful? – students are able to relate to being a bystander, they learn to understand their own behaviour & how to next time, stand up to mean behaviour
Need to tread carefully as finger pointing to mean behaviour can occur. Can be a powerful experience for all involved.
Targeted Year Group: Adapted for K-12, & tertiary/ young adults using specific context appropriate examples eg K – working with change, year 6 transitioning to year 7, 7-12 exam stress, preparing for study, preparing for job market/work experience.
Normalising anxiety, allowing anxiety to just be that without all the other emotions which come along with it eg the frustration that you are anxious again, the disappointment & sadness it is back & that you cannot control it, the guilt for feeling sad etc.
Ties in well with the new PDHPE curriculum, science, neurobiology.
STUFF THAT SUCKS
Targeted Year Group: 5-12, & tertiary/ young adults
Accepting that they are some things that we cannot change. Then committing to and working at ways to change what we can. Connecting to goals, predicting and preparing for obstacles. (Adapted from Ben Sedley’s book of same title)
REBRANDING THE F-WORD - FAILURE
Targeted Year Group: 6-12, & tertiary/ young adults
Learning from failure – you may have failed, you are not a failure. Normalising mistakes, especially good for parents with children with perfectionistic tendencies, anxious, low self-esteem after numerous mistakes/low grades etc.
TURDS & TORNADOES
Targeted Year Group: 6-12. This one also good for staff meetings, having teachers bring some everyday joy to meetings, challenge other staff members to find etc
Switch focus exercise specifically for those who get overly involved with everyone’s issues, focus on the negative things going on in their lives, weakness & lose track of their own goals, the good things that are happening around them. Switching to watering strengths & the good stuff rather than dwelling on the negatives. Social media challenge. Class challenges etc.
PAUSE BEFORE BLOWUP
(Mindfulness for those who say they can’t do mindfulness)
Targeted Year Group: For all!
Parents in their ages/stages with children in their age/stages. For staff wishing to deeply connect with their students. For students, learning the art of a little self-regulation.
Isn’t it amazing how we can have such patience for what life throws at us, but when it comes to our home, especially our children, we can blow up easily. This workshop dives into the why that happens and some simple techniques to help parents find their breath before or instead of blowing up.
Link between wellbeing & academic achievement
Targeted Year Group: K-12 & staff/parent workshop
Sarah explores what resilience means & how it is acted to build capacity for all. Resilience for young children needs to incorporate both physical & imaginative tools which she explains in terms of us all needing A Tool Box – using different tools for different situations & contexts. Sarah sees as not only bouncing back from a hardship or a setback, but using that experience to move forward with greater self-efficacy, vigour and purpose. Through terrible situations we learn so much about ourselves, our strengths, what we are capable of, whilst we prefer they didn’t happen, where can this experience take us? (Informed by Angela Duckworth’s research)
LISTEN HAS THE SAME LETTERS AS SILENT
Targeted Year Group: 3-12 & staff/parent workshop – great workshop to have parents & children together
Listening can be so so hard, especially when we see others you care about in pain or a clear solution for what has previously worked for you. Learning to actively listen to understand rather than listen to respond is one of the greatest skills we can learn. Thoroughly encourage both parents & children to be together for this one.
Targeted Year Group: 7-12, & tertiary/ young adults & staff/parent workshop (best with whole team/department/both parents)
A fun dive into developing what’s already gold in your school/university/staff room/classroom/family/life! There are a lot of great things happening already, without going into ‘fix-it’ problem solving mode, appreciative inquiry looks at what we already have and sees opportunities to make it even better. The outcome is a myriad of opportunities, possible solutions based on what already works, along with a collective vision of the ideal future. A very personal journey.