Well-being and Happiness – PERMA

All pupils from ages of 9-18 are given the knowledge and understanding of the five pillars of sustained well-being and happiness as espoused by the positive psychologist Dr Martin Seligman and his PERMA model. PERMA is displayed in every classroom and an explicit link is made between each of its components and the curriculum and particularly the significant transformative elements of the school co-curriculum.

If you were asked: “Are you happy?” You might flounder with that question. It is a question that would give even the most reflective adult deep pause for thought! PERMA gives the school community an acronym which breaks the answering of that question down into simple parts. It encourages wholesome reflection on life and on work/life balance. So what is PERMA?:

The Five Pillars of Wellbeing

P Positivity

E Engagement

R Relationships

M Meaning

A  Achievement*

*(which must involve endurance and resisting the temptation of the immediate in order to foster a knowledge of the power of delayed self-gratification e.g. the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme; going over an obstacle course in the school Combined Cadet Force; earning a martial arts belt, spending two hours on a Geography project rather than playing on an X box or mastering anything that you thought yourself incapable of doing and the well-being, self confidence and increase in self-esteem that accrues from that mastery).

The Marshmallow Experiment

The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies on delayed gratification in the late 1960s and early 1970s led by psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University. In these studies, a child was offered a choice between one small reward provided immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period, approximately 15 minutes, during which the tester left the room and then returned. (The reward was sometimes a marshmallow. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards had better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI), and other life and well-being measures.