10 July 2024



At Haut-Lac International Bilingual School, we believe in holistic education. We dedicate significant time to both providing students with personalised academic support and helping them navigate friendships and conflicts.


Haut-Lac School's holistic approach combines social and emotional learning with academic education. We develop and celebrate lifelong soft skills through the Infant and Primary Learning Pathways programme, which promotes age-appropriate traits like curiosity, confidence, decisiveness, creativity, independence, resilience and focus.

In fact, the Haut-Lac community champions such traits in its key values:

  1. Respect in relationships with all members of the school community
  2. Resilience in school experiences inside and outside of the classroom
  3. Open-mindedness in interactions with others
  4. Sense of belonging to a diverse school community.


Fostering personal growth at school

Our educators coach children through disputes that occur in the playground or classroom, which is especially crucial for students who feel others are often against them or who struggle to see their part in an interaction. This mindset can be shaped by negative, past experiences and may be unintentionally reinforced by well-meaning parental reactions to typical childhood interactions.

Our approach involves helping children understand that conflicts and disagreements are a normal part of growing up. We work with them to reframe their narratives, encouraging them to see challenges as opportunities for growth rather than personal attacks. For instance, when two students clash over a game, our teachers guide them through the process of expressing their feelings, listening to each other, and finding a mutually agreeable solution. By guiding them to consider other perspectives, we aim to foster empathy and resilience.

All staff, including academic and administrative members, lunchtime supervisors and parent volunteers receive coaching training to ensure a consistent approach across all areas of school life. We use methods such as role-playing, guided discussions and reflective listening to help children navigate conflicts, and to effectively support each student's unique needs and challenges.


Image about Narrative Therapy at Haut-Lac School


Helping children develop a positive, resilient mindset at home

Parents play a crucial role in this process. While it’s natural to want to protect your child, intervening or escalating conflicts can sometimes reinforce a child's skewed perspective.

Trusting the school's approach is essential. Our educators are skilled in conflict resolution and aim to teach children to resolve their issues independently, a critical life skill. Parents can support this by discussing incidents calmly with their children and encouraging them to think about the situation from multiple viewpoints.

Here are some practical ways parents can help:

  1. Be Patient: Get them to a safe place first. If your child is upset, try to to understand the situation by putting your own needs aside immediately. It's natural for parents to want to solve their children's problems right away, but your child's emotions can feel overwhelming. Acknowledge their feelings and be patient so you can find out more. 
  2. Make Them Feel Calm: Do whatever you need to calm your child. Give them a branch to get out of that river of emotion - whether it's a hug, a walk, or a distraction. Only when they are calm can they explore what has happened. By being free from the intense feeling (fear, anger, sadness), they will be able to see it is not who they are.
  3. Listen for the Positive Details: When the time is right and they begin to talk about why they were upset, listen to the subtle details. If, for example, they had problems with another child at school, ask questions to get as many details as possible without sharing your own opinions or passing judgment. This will make it easier to hear something positive or empowering.
  4. Build on the Good Stuff: When you hear the right details, build on those. Perhaps your child said no to a bully but is focusing on how people made fun of her, making her feel bad. Emphasize how amazing it is that she stood up for herself. Explore how saying no felt and talk about other times she said no and how great that felt. This way, the entire experience will feel different because it is about something other than negative identity conclusions.

Happy Haut-Lac students working together


By working together, we can help children build healthier relationships and a more positive outlook, ultimately contributing to their overall well-being and success. The long-term benefits of adopting a positive and resilient mindset are profound. Students not only experience improved relationships and increased empathy but also carry these skills into adulthood, fostering a more compassionate and understanding society.

At Haut-Lac, we are committed to creating an environment where every child can thrive academically, socially and emotionally. By helping children reframe their narratives, we lay the foundation for their lifelong success and happiness.

Tamara-Ann Borge
Primary Section Coordinator

Tags: child development, child well-being, soft skills, holistic education, personal growth

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