Positive education


At Varsity College, we passionately believe that happy, confident young people grow into responsible, respectful and resilient adults who are well equipped to meaningfully contribute to society. As such, we are committed to the development of the whole child, with the wellbeing of our students and staff at the foundation of all our educational endeavours.

What is positive education?

Positive education brings together the science and research from the field of positive psychology with best-practice teaching to encourage and support individuals, schools and communities to flourish. We refer to flourishing as a combination of 'feeling good and doing good'.

Our positive education curriculum, introduced from Prep, is purposefully designed to teach students the skills and mindsets of wellbeing. Through both explicit and implicit teaching and the application of positive psychology interventions, students and staff can identify and develop their strengths, forge positive relationships, build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, promote mindfulness and encourage a healthy lifestyle.

Character strengths

An integral component of the Varsity College positive education curriculum are the 24 universally recognised character strengths, identified by Seligman and Peterson. A strength is defined as a positive quality or talent that is energising, we choose to use and we perform well at (Waters, 2017). Character strengths are often referred to as the 'backbone' for human flourishing.

When we view a student through the lens of character strengths, we understand and embrace who that student is at his or her core.

By adopting a strength-based approach, we ask students:

  • What is right with you?
  • Who are you at your best?
  • What would change if you brought your 'best self' to each situation?

By exercising strengths, students are more likely to experience positive emotions, to engage in valued activities, to achieve a sense of meaning and purpose in life and to build positive relationships with other people. These experiences in turn lead to a more productive, satisfying and flourishing life. 

Not only do character strengths provide a common strength-based and solution-focused language for students, staff and parents, they align with our college values.

At Varsity College the language of strengths is introduced from Prep, however, in Year 5 and beyond students identify their signature strengths through the Values in Action (VIA) strengths survey.

To learn more about character strengths and take the survey visit the VIA Institute on Character website.

What are the benefits of the positive education?

Our young people will identify, embrace and develop their unique strengths to become resilient and persevere in difficult times.

They will learn how to foster a growth mindset to achieve their learning and life goals by stepping outside their comfort zone.

Above all, they will learn the importance of having a positive outlook and a zest for life.

Varsity College is a proud member of Positive Education Schools Association (PESA).

Last reviewed 24 June 2020
Last updated 24 June 2020