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Compassionate Systems Project

I am delighted to announce a project partnership at Woodleigh with researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston. The project will introduce the sympathetic system framework within our Primary, Middle and Senior Years programmes. In particular, the framework will help support our students' wellbeing and mental health while providing them with the thinking skills and adaptive capabilities necessary for living and learning. The project presents a rare opportunity to work with prominent researchers from one of the world's leading universities, with the school helping to pioneer this work in Australia.

The Compassionate Systems Project will build on the long tradition of innovation in real-world learning and wellbeing at Woodleigh School. It will also integrate with our more recent work on developing the whole school approach to curriculum development, with the framework at the heart of the project developed through an initial collaboration between MIT and the IB. Most importantly, the project will help us further develop our approach to real-world learning at the school for the benefit of our students in a world distinguished by persistent uncertainty and a multitude of global crises. Our curriculum must be designed to help develop the ability of our young people to respond compassionately to systemic challenges in their own lives, build deep connections to one another, and make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live.

In the following year, we will be completing some foundational work on this initiative by focusing on project design and capacity building for staff. Our staff will be supported in this work by the research team, including Dr Peter Senge (renowned leader in the fields of systems thinking and organisational learning), Mette Boell (research scientist and specialist in studying the evolution of social systems), and Jane Drake (former Head of Curriculum Innovation for the IB). The school's project partnership is a long-term commitment, and we look forward to providing further information for parents about this exciting development in the months ahead.

DR RICHARD OWENS
Director of Learning, Strategy and Innovation