Willow Tree, Wallabadah, Blackville, Spring ridge and Walhallow schools at Small Schools Unite Day, photos

SOCIAL media is more prevalent than ever, but country parents are still trying to catch up with the trend.

One hundred students and their parents attended the Small Schools Unite Day, a new initiative to get small schools from the Liverpool Plains together for workshops on resilience, building strong relationships and positive mental health.

The Younger Heroes founder Damien Schofield spoke with parents about building better relationships.

His charity takes returned veterans and their families on four day wilderness camps to reconnect.

“It’s very important to have the adults involved, there’s no good just teaching the children,” Mr Schofield said.

“I had a lot of questions from teachers and parents about social media and I personally wouldn’t do it before 14 or 15.

“I’d make sure that you are an administrator on that social media and really limit what goes on there, because it’s there forever.”

Students from Willow Tree, Wallabadah, Blackville, Spring Ridge and Walhallow schools came to the event, some with as little as 11 students.

It was an opportunity to show the kids that a broader community exists, especially during drought when people need more support Mr Schofield said.

“They’re going through some tough times with the drought and the initiative was brilliant to build a wider community and teach them to support each other.

“They’re going through some of the hardest times in people’s lives, you have to be careful what kids see because it’s a pretty down and out environment and they listen to everything.

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“It’s important to build them up.”

The workshops also covered bullying, fighting fear, the benefits of physical health and mentoring.

Students took part in team building exercises to help them better communicate.

Willow Tree relieving principal Jane McKenzie said the children also enjoyed a mindfulness exercise with Sarah McMurtrie.

“Some of the schools are quite small so they could connect as a bigger community,” she said.

“Rural schools are facing issues with drought and it’s not just farming families – it’s started to filter out to the community as well, so it was an opportunity to be together and have fun.

“The kids thoroughly enjoyed the day, it gave them the opportunity to get more skills under their belt and that’s the main idea.”

The Small Schools Unite Day took place on Thursday September 6.

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