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Welcome teachers, principals, welfare coordinators and anyone who works in schools—from pre-school to tertiary!

For over twenty years our card sets, stickers and books have been used to BUILD A STRENGTHS CULTURE in schools and other learning environments by focussing on strengths, values, goals, solutions, team building, learning styles and emotional literacy.

Every person and every school has unique and sometimes surprising strengths. Through our strengths we learn and grow. We call on our strengths, and those of others, in times of challenge and difficulty. Through our shared strengths, we help prevent bullying, and build capacity, hope and resilience for everyone.

Building a culture of strengths, respect and fairness in the school community not only enhances learning, but makes it an enjoyable and accessible environment for students, staff and parents.

How can principals, teachers, welfare coordinators, counsellors, psychologists and mentors respond to the growing challenge to provide esteem-building, creative, culturally-inclusive resources across the curriculum?

Imagine a School...

  • that focuses on strengths, possibilities and solutions, rather than problems and deficits
  • that helps prevent or respond to serious problems like bullying through the lens of strengths
  •  where conversations about values, goals and what’s important take place readily
  • where students learn skills in managing feelings and emotions
  • where differences, similarities and people’s stories are valued and celebrated
  • Where different learning styles are acknowledged and encouraged.

Celebrate Strengths with Stickers

Many of our card sets come as stickers. Stickers may be little, but they say a lot about celebrating strengths in your school. They are a fun way to send positive messages to students and the whole school community. Say ‘Thanks’ ‘Congratulations’, ‘Good Work’ and ‘We Appreciate You’ with stickers. Use them on students’ work, journals, noticeboards, reports, name tags, lunch boxes, hand-made greeting cards, awards and certificates.

Resources for Seriously Optimistic Schools

‘Open, reflective and respectful conversations about important things—our strengths, values, relationships, and the ways we learn and grow—can enhance our self-esteem, create our identities, and give us hope. They are at the heart of emotional literacy.’

Schools are increasingly called upon to take a proactive role in the enhancement of self-esteem, wellbeing and emotional intelligence. These are essential ingredients in building families and communities that are filled with hopeful, engaged, resilient and compassionate people. There is also a growing understanding of the role that these things play in preventing and addressing such behaviours as bullying, substance abuse, school refusal and self-harm.

How can schools respond to this growing challenge to provide esteem-building, creative, culturally-inclusive resources and programs?

Many schools are currently drawing on the skills of the social work sector by using the highly creative card packs, stickers, books and picture books developed by St Luke’s Innovative Resources.

Innovative Resources is the publishing arm of St Luke’s—a division of Anglicare Victoria. St Luke’s is well known for its ‘strengths-based’ services for children, youth, families and communities. Innovative Resources is now becoming increasingly known in Australia and overseas for its role as a publisher of original, high-quality resources that are designed to create transformative conversations with children and young people about their feelings, goals, strengths and challenges.

These ‘seriously optimistic’ card packs, books, stickers and posters have become essential items in the tool kits of teachers, principals, welfare coordinators, parents, social workers, counsellors, managers, psychologists, and childcare professionals worldwide. They can be found on school camps, in classrooms, staff rooms, career guidance offices, and in the tool kits of mentors and team leaders.

While children, adolescents and adults alike respond to the range of original illustrations, cartoon characters, photographic images or contemporary techno design, the real transformative power of these resources lies in the thoughtful reflection and meaningful conversations that are generated by using them.

This is why the resources published by St Luke’s are sometimes described as ‘conversational prompts’ because they are used to encourage conversations about the important things—our strengths, values, relationships, and the ways we learn and grow. It is these conversations of meaning and significance that enhance our self-confidence, create our identities and give us hope. They are at the heart of emotional literacy.

‘Anything that builds optimism and gets children and young people talking about their strengths and noticing those of others is really important. So we challenge ourselves all the time to create high-quality, colourful and even cutting-edge resources for classrooms.’ said Russell Deal, Creative Director of Innovative Resources.

Building a Strengths Culture in Schools

A large number of variables define the characteristics of any school’s culture, but finding ways to make the school’s values explicit is vital.

  • Are the values of your school buried in policy documents or are they overtly displayed in posters and signs?
  • Are students in your school encouraged to develop the capacity to notice their own and other’s strengths?
  • Are teachers in your school actively building a vocabulary for talking about strengths?

Because Innovative Resources’ materials have so many uses inside and outside the classroom they present lots of possibilities for active culture-building:

  • Use stickers on letters, memos, newsletters, walls, doors and staffroom fridges to raise questions or acknowledge strengths and achievements.
  • Energise classrooms, hallways and staffrooms with cards and stickers that display valuable strengths-based messages.
  • Use strengths-based cards sets in evaluation and staff interviews.
  • Create awards and reporting styles that celebrate strengths.
  • Create staff meetings where strengths and learning styles are identified and celebrated.
  • Build strengths and feelings vocabularies by using card sets that name strengths and emotions.
  • Enhance skills in building friendships and teams as part of a bullying prevention program.

Ideas for Welfare Coordinators & Counsellors

At Innovative Resources we keep welfare coordinators and counsellors in mind when we are developing new materials. You are our litmus test – it is important that our materials work for you.

While each and every card set we publish would find a natural home in the tool kits of welfare coordinators and counsellors, there are several that are specifically designed to open up conversations about feelings, and are therefore vital for welfare coordinators:

As you know, how we recognise our feelings and body signals is at the heart of emotional intelligence and emotional literacy. The above resources can be used to communicate feelings in fun, non-threatening ways while at the same time assisting students and adults to expand their recognition and vocabulary for describing feelings.

For children who love tactile activities, have you discovered the hand-made ceramic heads that make up the Pocket of Stones? These small clay heads offer tactile, hands-on ways of opening up conversations about feelings and relationships.

For primary school children experiencing grief and loss, there is Jelly Bean’s Secret—an illustrated novella about the death of a grandmother—and the celebration of all the memories, and the wisdom she shared in countless ways—but especially though making mosaics with items found while beachcombing. The facilitators guide in the back will be a great resource for school counsellors.

Welfare Coordinators and school counsellors also want to have conversations about strengths, goals, possibilities and choices. Essentials for these are:

And for those working with self-care and mental health issues have a look at:

Ideas for Preventing Bullying & Building Friendships

Schools are often looking for proactive ways of preventing bullying. Innovative Resources has responded to this challenge by creating a unique set of cards called Mates Traits that encourages users to explore the nature of friendships. Friendships and relationships of respect are the natural antidotes to bullying, but it is easy to take the nature of friendships for granted.

Mates Traits provides a unique way of thinking and talking about friendships:

  • How do you make friends?
  • What do friends do together?
  • What makes a good friend?

School camps, retreats, orientation activities and school celebrations are great opportunities for friendships to flourish. Mates Traits is an energetic and fun resource that can be used in a whole range of school situations (including conflict resolution) to encourage learning about social skills, communication and relationship-building. The cards set is suitable for preschool, primary and secondary. The colouring book and stickers are suitable for preschool and primary.

The Mates Traits card set has been used extensively with adults, teams and communities—to focus on what we value in our relationships with others and what we want to do more often to help build our interconnectedness.

Ideas for Including & Celebrating Indigenous Culture

Produced in partnership with SNAICC, a leading Indigenous organisation, Talking Up Our Strengths is a beautiful, photomontage-style card set for celebrating the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and cultures. While these cards particularly celebrate Australian Indigenous culture, they can be used for storytelling and building the strengths of any community or culture. This is an absolute must for all schools in their responsibility to build a culturally-inclusive learning space—whether primary, secondary or tertiary.

Ideas for Teachers of Social Science & Social Justice

Senior secondary subject areas that deal with social change, civics, government, law, ethics and media analysis will find Respect and Justice, What Works? and Change by Design invaluable and unique resources. These cards pose questions that can be used to interrogate a group decision or process of change. Themes such as inclusion, language, fairness and discrimination, respect, transparency, consultation, sustainability and blind spots are explored.

Those schools wishing to explore equity from the point of view of gender will find the Gender Fairness cards uniquely inspiring and dynamic. Developed in partnership with a leading Women’s Health organisation, these cards include statements, questions and cartoons in the rich tradition of social satire to heighten awareness of, and conversation about, the gender issues that continue to undermine us all.

These are great tools for sparking debate and discussion about contemporary social issues. Teachers of ‘issues for youth’ or ‘adolescent health’ classes will also find Deep Speak a great (and fun) tool for deepening students’ engagement with social and personal dilemmas.