At Youth Off The Streets our independent schools support disadvantaged young people that are disengaged from mainstream education. Sadly, these young people have often had traumatic experiences in their lives that heavily impact on their wellbeing and education.
To ensure our young people feel safe and supported whilst at school, our teachers are trained in trauma informed care. Through their training, teachers ensure our young people make positive choices to turn their lives around. One model we adopt to ensure positive development in young people’s lives is through the Circle Of Courage.
The Circle Of Courage is a model of positive youth development based on the four following principles of wellbeing:
- Belonging – Everyone deserves to feel loved and that they belong.
- Independence – Everyone should have the power to make their own decisions.
- Mastery – Everyone should have the ability to believe they can succeed.
- Generosity – Everyone should look forward to being able to contribute to others.
John Martin, Deputy Principal of Wellbeing, explains why it is important to try to understand their student’s behaviour through the Circle of Courage model.
“In an ideal world all of our students would feel a good sense of belonging and feel loved, trusted and cared for,” says John.
“But of course, our students have lived in a world that is anything but ideal. Some students will come to us and their sense of self is slightly distorted or even sadly so, it is completely absent. Our challenge as teachers is to not judge that student by what they’re doing, but to find out why they are doing it.”
This is why it is important our teachers can identify when a young person may be struggling and work toward setting them onto a more positive path. Many strategies used at our schools promote this positive development through the circle of courage model. For example, teachers promote belonging among students by making them feel welcome and wanted at school.
The Circle Of Courage approach aids our teachers in providing trauma informed care to students. Together through the right support, we can work to give our kids the opportunities they deserve.