The School Focused Youth Service (SFYS) Bayside, Kingston & Frankston team has taken the initiative to build the capacity of schools to support vulnerable children and young people, through the creation of communities of practice for school staff.
Following staff attendance at SFYS funded workshops to support students at their schools, SFYS generated opportunities for staff to continue their learning through networks created to share information and support one another.
SFYS Dog Squad
The SFYS Dog Squad is an informal community of practice for staff who have school therapy dogs in the Bayside, Kingston and Frankston areas. Staff have all attended therapy dog training, and regularly bring their dogs into their school. The purpose of the group is to share information about ideas for most effectively incorporating a therapy dog into a school community. Staff have found this to be an invaluable opportunity to meet each other, gain valuable information, and learn about the ways in which other schools integrate therapy dogs into the curriculum and school life.
The SFYS Dog Squad was formed in mid-2022, and has met every school term since then.
The photo below is from our Term 3 SFYS Dog Squad meeting at Aspendale Gardens Primary School, in their dedicated ‘Dog Therapy’ room!
Social Stencil Network
A number of schools received SFYS funding during 2023 to attend the Social Stencil Workshop, a group session planned in partnership with our SFYS colleagues in Stonnington, Glen Eira and Port Phillip.
Social Stencil is an evidence-based program for children that sequentially teaches Social Information Processing Skills (SIP), supporting young people to develop friendships, manage conflict, and regulate emotions and behaviour to build life-shaping social competencies and capabilities.
Inspired by the success of the SFYS Dog Squad, we launched the Social Stencil Network in August 2023 – a collaboration between SFYS Bayside, Kingston, Frankston, Stonnington, Glen Eira and Port Phillip. This offers staff the opportunity to regularly join with staff from other schools in the area, who are also implementing the 12-15 week Social Stencil program at their schools. The purpose of the network is to provide peer support, work through challenges, celebrate wins, keep the momentum going and support each other in implementing the program!
Through the strong SFYS connection with the Student Wellbeing Team at Westall Secondary College, the Wellbeing Coordinator attended a Social Stencil workshop earlier this year, and the school will now be hosting another workshop in December!