Paving the Way to Mindfulness: Ravenswood's new Wellbeing Path opens

Posted : 21 June 2023

On 2 June, Principal Mrs Anne Johnstone unveiled the newly designed and developed Ravenswood Wellbeing Path on Love RAVO Day, made possible by the generous support of Giving Day 2021 donors. The 800-metre continuous loop within the campus perimeter provides an opportunity for students and staff to enjoy the tremendous benefits of exercising in nature which supports physical and mental health, along with learning. It encourages students to take time during breaks or even, through guided lessons, to walk and talk together, and to enjoy the beauty of our natural surroundings on campus through savouring and mindfulness.  The Path intertwines nature and art and aims to connect to Country, creating a holistic experience for the Ravenswood community.

As a Positive Education and Visible Wellbeing school, Ravenswood's Visible Wellbeing approach and Wellbeing Program form a multi-layered system of support and guidance provided by highly qualified and experienced educators including Class Teachers, Mentor Teachers, Year Coordinators, Stage Assistant Coordinators, Head of Senior School, Deputy Principal – Boarding, Wellbeing and Development, and the Head of Positive Education. The School Chaplain, Psychologists, Learning Enrichment team, our therapy dogs Daisy and Penny, and the Health Care Unit are also available to students for support, guidance and advice.

Mrs Johnstone says, ‘Following our Visible Wellbeing approach, the Wellbeing Path has been created to support different elements of our students’ wellbeing. Research confirms the benefits of exercise for both the body and the mind. The Path creates opportunities for our students to further foster a sense of connection as they traverse the path together, promoting curiosity and wonder, engaging in creativity, and enjoying the opportunity for mindfulness.’

The Path links existing established gardens, pathways, paved areas, and newly built sitting spaces together, with the walk taking approximately 10 minutes.

Inspirational quotes from eminent Positive Education and Wellbeing academics and experts such as Professor Martin Seligman and Dr John J Ratey, as well as inspirational women such as Malala Yousafzai and Mother Teresa, adorn the pathways at various intervals along the way to encourage and uplift students and staff as they walk.

The Path also features a stunning art installation with clusters of pictograms made from sustainable materials designed by celebrated award-wining environmental artist and Alumni, Jennifer Turpin (1975) and her team at Turpin Studios, and project managed by Alumni Georgina Blix (2003), adding to the uniqueness and splendour of the walking experience.  The pictograms reference the history of the School, the history of the land, native flora and fauna, as well as the sense of interconnectedness of the environment.  Drawing inspiration from the Indigenous knowledge of the D’harawal people, Mrs Johnstone and Jennifer collaborated with the Student Representative Council, Prefects and staff during the design process through a range of engaging workshops to instil a sense of place and environmental stewardship.

Junior and Senior School Assemblies were held to celebrate the opening of the Wellbeing Path, with students welcomed by sounds of nature and artist pictograms projected on the walls to create a mindful atmosphere. The School continued the celebrations of the warmth and support of the RAVO community and RAVO sisterhood when all students in the School, Prep through to Year 12, gathered on the Oval for the ceremonial ribbon cutting and blessing conducted by Reverend Humphries to officially open the Wellbeing Path. Students and staff then walked the Wellbeing Path together, using their gifted yellow RAVO heart-shaped pedometers to count their steps as they enjoyed a number of enriching Positive Education spark activities along the Path while reflecting on friendship, connectedness and togetherness.  At the end of the day, over 250 family members joined in the festivities, walking the new Wellbeing Path and relishing the unique experience it offers with their daughters.

In 2022, Ravenswood School for Girls received four Excellence Awards in the 2022 Australian Education Awards for School Principal of the Year, Best Student Wellbeing Program, Boarding School of the Year and Primary School Teacher of the Year. The School has also received five -5 Star Innovative School Awards by the Educator in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022 and 2023, which recognises schools that have demonstrated innovation and creativity.