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SPARK Resilience is a school based social emotional learning programme for 10 - 12 year olds at the end of primary school or beginning of secondary school.

SPARK Resilience for 10 - 12 year-olds

SPARK Resilience draws on concepts from mindfulness, positive psychology and cognitive behavioural therapy to give children skills to boost their strengths, control strong emotions and reframe habitual ways of thinking.  Read about the evidence behind SPARK Resilience  and the impact the programme has had on children and teachers.

SPARK Resilience consists of an introductory session plus 10 sessions of 45 minutes. Adapted from the original version by Prof Ilona Boniwell and Lucy Ryan (2009), SPARK Resilience uses imaginary parrots to represent the messages we give ourselves, such as the Judge, the Worrier and the Enthusiast. Children learn how to challenge the parrots’ unhelpful messages and reframe their thoughts, whilst building a ‘resilience portfolio’ of character strengths and sources of support in their lives.

Evaluation of the original programme found it was effective in boosting resilience and preventing depression.

Please note: SPARK Resilience is a social and emotional learning programme aimed at promoting positive mental health and resilience for all children and is not designed to be a therapeutic intervention.

Staff who would like to deliver the SPARK Resilience programme need to complete online training and purchase a subscription to the SPARK Resilience resources on the Skills for Life Online Teaching Platform.

Take a look at our other programmes:

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Read the FAQ's

Online Training

Interactive training includes:

  • Philosophy and theory behind each programme
  • Programme concepts and implications for children’s wellbeing
  • Structure and content of each programme and the materials used to deliver it
  • How to use the programmes as part of a whole school approach to mental wellbeing

International Partners

The Skills for Life programmes run in a wide variety of countries and cultures across the globe. Our partner organisations range widely in size and character, from government departments and large NGOs to small voluntary agencies and academic institutions.

See whether your country is one of our Licensed Partners.

FREE Wellbeing Activities

These FREE wellbeing activities for schools, children and families are based on the Skills for Life programmes. The activities are designed to help children process feelings, communicate effectively, cope with their anxieties and difficulties and deal with change and loss. Activities can be downloaded and adapted for younger or older children and children with SEND.

The learning outcomes for the sessions in SPARK Resilience:

To understand the key components and benefits of resilience.

To create a SPARK resilience agreement to keep sessions safe and comfortable for everyone.

To learn about the four muscles of resilience – I have, I am, I can, I like

To identify and reflect on how strong our muscles of resilience are and produce a resilience portfolio

To improve our resilience through the practice of mindfulness

To understand the role of pleasant and unpleasant emotions.

To improve our ability to manage strong emotions.

To strengthen our ‘I have’ resilience muscle – practice gratitude for important people we have in our life.

To understand the five elements of SPARK and how these work together to create an outcome.

To practice analysing situations using SPARK.

To practice mindful breathing.

To strengthen our ‘I am’ resilience muscle by identifying our character strengths and those we admire in others.

To understand that our perceptions affects the way we interpret and feel about situations.

To identify some of the common negative ways we interpret situations.

To identify positive ways of interpreting situations.

To practice compassion for oneself through mindfulness.

To strengthen our ‘I can’ resilience muscle by identifying our role models and how we can use the qualities we admire in them in our own lives.

To practice evaluating how much we trust our perception based on evidence.

To learn how to challenge perceptions that cannot be fully trusted.

To understand how distracting ourselves can help us manage strong feelings.

To explore the top five distraction activity categories.

To create our own ‘Go-to’ distraction list of activities that work for us and ones we would like to try.

To understand that even when we can’t change the situation or how we feel about it, we can still choose the way we react.

To practice using a four step strategy to expressing ourselves assertively.

To strengthen our ‘I like’ resilience muscle by reflecting on positive experiences.

To practice calming down through the belly breathing technique.

To learn the elements of Fast SPARK and explore how these work together to create an outcome.

To understand how reacting to a situation using Fast SPARK results in knowledge that can help us in future situations.

To revisit our Resilience Portfolios and reflect on how our resilience muscles have strengthened.

To review the main component of SPARK and summarise learnings on a visual poster.

Frequently asked questions

Yes! After the online training you can purchase a subscription to the online learning platform and buy printed materials. See the price list and how to order.