Resilience is a skill that can be taught, says Professor Carmel Cefai. To test this theory, Cefai and the Centre for Resilience and Socio-Economic Health are working on a curriculum for young people that will see Maltese and European schools actively teaching this skill in their classes. The project, called RESCUR Surfacing the Waves, is coordinated by the University of Malta and is conducted in partnership with five other European Universities.
The pilot study of the curriculum developed by the project focuses on the early years of education and on children who are exposed to increased risk of social exclusion, early school leaving and unemployment due to their social disadvantages. It includes a weekly session filled with targeted activities around themes such as healthy relationships and developing a growth mindset. By reinforcing the skills learnt through these activities in class, during other lessons, teachers have noted the positive effect it has already had on their students. Parents have also been encouraged to become a part of the RESCUR programme, to ensure the child’s strengths are reinforced.
For the programme to be implemented, the curriculum now needs to go through a process of rigorous evaluation. That said, the programme has already sparked an interest in schools not only in Malta and Europe but also in the USA and Australia.