Thrive Foundation

Partner From
12/01/2017 - On Going

https://thrivechennai.wordpress.com/


Supported by: Wipro

About Thrive Foundation

Thrive Foundation is an educational nonprofit based in Chennai, working to address the lack of availability of positive, preventive, and protective mental health services in low-income schools. Through in-class instruction in social and emotional skills for students’, teachers’ and parents’ well-being programs and policy-making at a whole school level, we seek to build psychological resilience in every child to overcome the multiple psychosocial risk factors they face in their impoverished neighbourhoods every day.

Thrive’s vision is to create school spaces that are warm, safe, and psychologically enabling for every adult and child to thrive in. Our mission is to create learning spaces at schools and homes that promote well-being of all through social and emotional learning (SEL), and preventive and positive mental health services.

Approach

Our programs are designed to serve school communities at three levels:

  1. The AlterNarrative Fellowship- Postgraduates with Counselling/Clinical Psychology from leading Arts and Science colleges in Chennai are selected and trained to become one-year, part-time SEL facilitators under Thrive’s flagship Fellowship. Students in Grades VI-X get educated on critical positive and protective psychological skills such as self-awareness, emotional management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
  2. School Policy- At the larger school level, school leadership, teachers, and staff of school are trained on child-centric, child-sensitive practices with a premium on safeguarding the self-esteem, safety, and security of every student. Teachers are co-creators of integrating social and emotional learning practices into their own teaching and disciplining practices. We are putting together a comprehensive Child Protection Policy impacting nearly 500 students, 33 teaching and non-teaching staff and 500 families in one of our low-income private schools. Along with instituting a Child Protection Committee, scoping and mapping allied service partners in substance use and rehabilitation and child sexual abuse prevention, Thrive helps schools draft, implement, monitor, and upgrade school policies to make a sustainable well-being agenda for all.
  3. At the third level, Thrive engages with parents through family and individual counselling, and home visits to improve family support for struggling children. We will begin well-being circles and barefoot counselling training for parents to improve community mental health indicators shortly.

To implement programs at all three levels, covering all invested adult stakeholders in child well-being and school performance, Thrive employs a School Well-being Associate for each school to ensure high quality implementation of SEL curriculum, to conduct classroom observations, to instruct teachers on child-centric teaching and disciplining practices, to hold cross-school learning and well-being circles for clusters of government schools, and to have community engagement through student-run awareness programs, street plays, and community surveys.

We have tested this approach in one low-income private school and the feedback from the headmaster, teachers, and students has been encouraging due to their eagerness to use a well-being resource person for their own personal and professional development, and for implementing key policy-level changes. The sustainable next step is to make School Well-Being Committees constituting of students, teachers, management, and parent representatives. Through this, they can envision the purpose of their school together, and implement academic and well-being programs in close tandem with the principles of pedagogy and positive psychology, ushering in a movement of positive education in government schools in Chennai.

Plans for 2021-24

In the next three years, Thrive plans to work with Chennai Corporation schools in a cluster model, with 5 schools in each of the 9 school zones in the city, taking our 3-tiered approach to 45 schools by 2024.

In academic year 2021-22, Thrive will begin work with one cluster of 5 schools, 14 middle school teachers and 150 middle school students. These are 5 of the most neglected schools in the middle of the city. A needs assessment with teachers revealed high levels of discord between teachers and students, high-risk behaviours like smoking and rash driving among students, contaminated drinking water in school and the like. We will be adopting our pilot teacher coaching model involving:

  • Classroom observations
  • Individualised Development Plans per teacher per class
  • Directed, one-on-one coaching on facilitation, teaching, and disciplining skills in teachers alongside emotional management, relationship management, and decision making for teachers
  • Weekly school-level reflection circles to share best practices, challenges, and support
  • Quarterly cluster-level professional learning communities for cross-school learning and joint capacity building sessions.

This is envisioned to be a three-year program where the school engages with SEL from practice to developing, monitoring, and executing child and wellbeing-centric school policies.