Positive Education is a sub-discipline of Positive Psychology. Positive Education is defined as education for both traditional skills and for happiness. It combines the traditional skills of achievement taught within the education system with the much needed skills of wellbeing.
The high prevalence worldwide of depression among young people, the small rise in life satisfaction, and the synergy between learning and positive emotion all argue that the skills for happiness should be taught in school. There is substantial evidence from well-controlled studies that skills that increase resilience, positive emotion, engagement and meaning can be taught to schoolchildren.
Professor Martin Seligman (University of Pennsylvania) is the founder of this field of Positive Psychology which focuses on the strengths and virtues that enable individuals to thrive. He did a great amount of the pioneering work in Australia with Geelong Grammar School in Victoria.
Seligman has identified a number of areas which contribute to living a fulfilling life; positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning and accomplishment. His research has indicated that, by giving attention to these areas, individuals have the ability to contribute to their own happiness, regardless of their circumstances.
Positive Psychology activities heighten our awareness of what is working well in our lives, allow us to better understand our own character strengths and fill us with a sense of gratitude and empathy. A proven consequence is that levels of optimism and resilience are increased and, in turn, the likelihood of depression is decreased.
Research is also showing that not only can depression rates be reduced but creativity; academic success and contribution to family and society are likely to be improved.
We aim to improve engagement amongst our students, encourage them to maximise their talents and increase their connection to the school and community. Ultimately, we want to equip them with the qualities to enable them to become well-rounded, happy and productive members of society.
In essence, happy and healthy kids are more likely to reach their full potential.
For more information please see this paper from the Oxford Review of Education, Positive education: positive psychology and classroom interventions (2009).