Engaging parents in positive education: Results from a pilot program


  • Karina Dubroja University of Melbourne
  • Meredith O’Connor Geelong Grammar School and The University of Melbourne
  • Vicki Mckenzie University of Melbourne




Positive Education, Parent-school relationship, School community, Whole-school approach


Abstract: Positive education aims to contribute to the optimal functioning of students, staff, and school communities. Parents play a vital role in school communities, and finding effective ways to engage parents with positive education is therefore critical. This small-scale pilot study aimed to provide preliminary insights into the impact of a 3-day intensive positive education program for parents, which focused on teaching positive psychology strategies, such as gratitude and use of character strengths, to the parent population. A mixed methodology non-randomized control group design was used to assess pre- to post-intervention change in 24 intervention participants and 16 waitlist control participants. An online survey assessed parents’ mental health and wellbeing, knowledge and use of character strengths, feelings of connection with the school, and beliefs about child wellbeing. Results revealed significant increases in parental wellbeing and parent-school connection among the intervention participants, as compared to controls. Qualitative results indicated that parents also perceived a positive impact on their communication with their child. Overall, the study findings provide promising preliminary evidence for the benefits of strategically engaging parents in positive education. Replication is now needed in further larger-scale studies. 


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Author Biographies

Karina Dubroja, University of Melbourne

Melbourne Graduate School Of Education

Meredith O’Connor, Geelong Grammar School and The University of Melbourne

Positive Education Department and Department of Paediatrics respectively.