The Gold Coast SUNS has officially launched its new schools-based education program ‘Play to Your Strengths’.
The program has been developed through the Gold Coast SUNS football club to engage school students’ and help them learn about their unique character strengths.
The online learning course provides an educational opportunity to identify students’ own and others’ strengths with the help of the Gold Coast SUNS players.
Program Coordinator and SUNS AFLW player Lauren Ahrens believes that the program is a great opportunity to connect with schools throughout Queensland, Northern NSW and Darwin.
“It’s a great opportunity to connect with the community in a unique way, there’s not a lot of programs out there like this. It is great for the schools to implement technology and for the players to go out to the schools and build that relationship,” Ahrens said.
“This program really gives them (the students) the opportunity to not only learn about themselves but then learn about the people around them; to help them build their personalities and be able to do more things in a better way and be happier.
“At the end of the program, the school has the opportunity to have a player come out and the kids get to present their final project to the player, and they (the player) can provide some feedback as well.”
Working as a teacher alongside her AFLW career, Ahrens saw the value in offering a program to school students utilising the club’s football players to deliver the lessons.
She has spent the last 12 months developing and implementing the program whilst working in the SUNS community department.
Through the character strengths survey in the program, students can identify one of 24 strengths that resonates most with them as an individual.
They are then able to find the SUNS AFL or AFLW player that shares the same strength as them.
For example, Ben King, an ambassador of the Play to Your Strengths program, has the top strength of honesty which he considers “a really good foundation for building strong relationships.”
Additionally, Jack Lukosius’ top strength is humility, while Izak Rankine’s strength is fairness and Kalinda Howarth’s is bravery.
The program can be accessed through an online learning portal and broken down into modules that the students can complete over the school term.
The new program aligns with the Australian curriculum to assist teachers and give students an opportunity to learn in a fun and innovative way.
The unique approach, which was originally targeted at just grade five and six students, has seen a great opportunity to head into high schools as well.
“Throughout this year we have probably reach classes in around different 20 schools, which has been a fantastic range,” Ahrens said.
“(It’s) mainly primary schools and a couple of highs schools are starting to get into it now as well.
“It's such a good opportunity for schools to implement some IT into their curriculum… but also it's giving students an opportunity to learn about something in a fun and innovative way.”
The Gold Coast SUNS want to ensure they can positively impact the local community by helping students realise the character strengths that make us who we are.
Additionally, how to harness these areas to perform better at school, in sport and in relationships with friends and family.
The development of the ‘Play to Your Strengths’ program will see the program reach more schools and create a greater connection with the community, schools and with the Gold Coast SUNS players as well.
For further enquiries about the Play to Your Strengths program or to express interest in joining for Term 1, 2022, contact the club at email@example.com.