CoverIntroductionWellbeing and Its Importance in SchoolsWhat models/frameworks exist to promote school wellbeing?What is the best approach for my school or district?Valuable Tools and ConsiderationYour Call to ActionStudent Wellbeing InterventionsPositive Emotion Three Good ThingsCounting BlessingsEnvisioning Your Best Possible SelfUnderstanding HumorThree Funny ThingsOutdoor LearningBringing the Outside InBibliotherapyEngagementRecognizing and Utilizing Personal StrengthsARCS Model of CuriosityCarousel BrainstormingGenius HourPerspective Taking and Role-PlayArts IntegrationDrawing and Coloring TherapyCulturally-Enriching and Arts-Based Field TripsCulturally Responsive PracticesSocial Belonging InterventionEmotional Self-Regulation: RULER methodModeling Emotional Self-Regulation SkillsTeacher PraiseRelationshipsModeling Love, Kindness and ForgivenessActive Constructive RespondingDialogue JournalsSecret Strengths SpottingPeer Praise NotesActs of KindnessVolunteeringFast FriendsBuddy BenchMeaningEducating Students about Benefit AppraisalsGratitude LettersSavoring StrategiesTaking in the Good (HEAL)Mental Time TravelBrief Mindfulness ActivitiesMindful BellMindful BreathingBody Scan RelaxationMindful Walking/MovementFive Senses MindfulnessMindful PhotographyMindful Self-CompassionAccomplishmentFuture Thinking & When/Where PlansHope MapG-POWER Goal SettingEmbedded Self-Regulation StrategiesGrowth MindsetGrit and Deliberate PracticeDeveloping Students' Resilience and Coping SkillsHealth and VitalityHealthy Sleep HabitsClassroom Physical ActivityYogaCreative Playground EquipmentHealthy Body Image InterventionStudent-Led Health ProgramSchool-Led Interventions for Teachers and StaffSupporting Teacher AutonomyMindfulness TrainingCompassion TrainingHumor TrainingIncentivizing Physical ExerciseIndividual Interventions for Administrators, Teachers and StaffPositive and Reflective JournalingSelf-Regulation and Coping StrategiesSelf-AffirmationSelf Compassion LetterDiscovering and Utilizing Character StrengthsJob CraftingMindfulnessAdditional Interventions to ConsiderDedicated Wellbeing SpacesIndividual Wellbeing Plans for School EmployeesOther ResourcesPROSPER


At a basic level, engagement is becoming “immersed in an activity that is intrinsically motivating” or experiencing a state of “flow”(Falecki et al., 2018, p.106). Flow, a term coined by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990), describes a state of being in which one becomes so engaged in an activity that they seem to lose track of time, such as a musician completely losing themself within the music. Engagement is associated with character strengths of curiosity, zest, bravery, love of learning and leadership (Wagner, 2019). According to Dr. Peggy Kern (in press), there are three types of  engagement that can be focused on to improve student wellbeing: behavioral, emotional/psychological, and cognitive engagement. 

  1. Behavioral engagement includes school attendance, coming prepared to class, following classroom rules, and active participation in learning. 
  2. Emotional/psychological engagement includes enjoyment of learning, a sense of belonging, and a feeling of safety. For students to be engaged their fundamental needs of autonomy, relatedness/belonging, and competence must be met (Fredericks et al., 2004). 
  3. Cognitive engagement includes paying full attention, a willingness to exert effort, and the use of different learning strategies. Cognitive engagement also includes providing students with challenging activities and limiting classroom distractions. Dr. Kern says, “Flow is more likely to occur for intrinsically motivating activities, when the challenge of a situation meets the individual’s skill and ability to meet the challenge, and attention is completely focused" (Kern, in press, p.7).

The interventions in this section will focus primarily on improving these three areas of student engagement. These activities will encourage your students to “become immersed in worthwhile pursuits” and to use and develop their own individual strengths (Falecki et al., 2018, p.104). 


Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. HarperCollins.

Falecki, D., Leach, C., & Green, S. (2018). PERMA-powered coaching. In S. Green, & S. Palmer (Eds.), Positive psychology coaching in practice. New York: Routledge.

Fredricks, J. A., Blumenfeld, P. C., & Paris, A. H. (2004). School Engagement: Potential of the Concept, State of the Evidence. Review of Educational Research, 74(1), 59–109.

Kern, M. L. (in press). PERMAH: A useful model for focusing on wellbeing in schools. In K. A. Allen, M. Furlong, S. Suldo & D. Vella-Brodrick. (Eds.), The handbook of positive psychology in schools 3rd edition. Taylor and Francis. 

Wagner, L., Gander, F., Proyer, R., & Ruch, W. (2019). Character strengths and PERMA: Investigating the relationship of character strengths with a multidimensional framework of wellbeing. Applied Research in Quality of Life. Advance online publication. 

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