In 2006, Wellington College introduced Wellbeing as a compulsory subject sitting alongside English, the sciences and maths as part of the core curriculum. In doing so, Wellington became pioneers of positive education, an approach that values the happiness of young people to the same extent as their academic success.
The wellbeing curriculum teaches pupils how to flourish. Flourishing involves living life with purpose and aspiration, finding those things in life which imbue it with meaning, forging strong reciprocal relationships with others, engaging in life’s tasks to the best of one’s ability and having the strength of character to be resilient in the face of adversity. Lessons draw on philosophy; informed by Aristotle’s concept of ‘Eudaimonia’ – a Greek word which describes a life lived with excellence or to the best of one’s ability, towards the fulfilment of one’s true nature. Pupils pursue a kind of optimal living by learning the skills needed to get the best out of their relationships, health, work and play.
Wellbeing is an essential element of our continually evolving educational approach, as we aim to develop our pupils holistically, giving them the emotional resilience as well as the academic skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly changing world.
The programme is designed to address issues children will face as the grow and mature. The programme of study we follow, based on the Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) program in the UK, is made of up three core themes:
• Health and Wellbeing
• Living in the Wider World
The terms ‘wellbeing’ and ‘happiness’ are used interchangeably, however the latter is too caught up in the notion of ‘cheerfulness’ to fully represent the scope of this new subject. Much more than just putting on a smiley face, wellbeing is defined as; ‘a dynamic state, in which the individual is able to develop their potential, work productively and creatively, build strong and positive relationships with others, and contribute to their community.’
– The Foresight Report, UK Government Office for Science