Flinders University College of Education, Psychology & Social Work commissioned Monkeystack to develop their anti-bullying P.E.A.C.E Pack intervention into a modern and engaging program as a part of the charity-first collaboration between Breakthrough Foundation and Little Heroes Foundation.
To give a little background on the beginnings of this project: The P.E.A.C.E. Pack, in its paper form, has been widely implemented and evaluated by teachers, students, principals, parents and school administrators from early childhood settings to secondary schools in Australia and internationally since it was pioneered in 2001.
The intervention is built from the P.E.A.C.E acronym: Preparation, Education, Action, Coping and Evaluation.
We produced a series of animations and a range of online content for the Little Breakthrough Heroes: Big Talks For Little People children’s mental health initiative, which supports children in the classroom and playground, as key resources within an educational program structured of eight weekly modules. Each module provides tools and resources to help with resilience, anti-bullying and opening up conversation on emotions, designed to be delivered by teachers or on a student self-help basis, highlighting the message that “Mental illness affects everyone… including children”.
Our design and creation of the cute ‘Peeps and Feels’ represent every child viewer – not defined by gender, race, shape or features, but by emotional characteristics.
This approach to character design makes for an inclusive experience, no matter what classroom viewers are in. Every child can relate to a Peep based upon the Feels they are expressing, recognise emotions within themselves or behaviours in peers, which leads to open conversations and a better understanding of mental health.
Concepts, characters and storylines were thought out strategically as we created a colourful and engaging collection of animated visual resources, each covering a topic highlighted within modules for children to connect with and learn from.
Focus group feedback reported on our animations sparking conversations among students, multiple playbacks requested, and students finding deeper meanings than even the teachers had considered.
Incredible preliminary results have shown bullying dropping by up to 25% in the pilot schools alongside significant improvements in children’s well-being and abilities to recognise and express emotions. Being housed on a digital platform means that the program is now easier to distribute and engage with leading to better and more regular use.
Standardised questionnaires completed by 238 primary school students from five schools who took part last year indicated a significant improvement in their emotional states and wellbeing and fall in anxiety, with children being told “You are never too young to talk about mental health, and how you’re feeling”.
Flinders University released an article summarising the project with glowing feedback from the pilot.
“Teachers, including trainee teachers on placement, said it was clear and easy to use the practical teaching resources and ‘the children found it engaging,’ and ‘has digital resources that other programs do not which kids enjoyed and found exciting and engaging,’ our feedback found.” – Flinders University researcher and child psychologist Professor Phillip Slee
We produced a special introduction animation to officially launch the program at the Little Heroes Melbourne Cup Luncheon to over 200+ guests. There must have been some dust in the air that found it’s way into some of the guest’s eyes, judging on the reaction received.
The public support for the program continues, with the Peeps and the Feels making a fabulous appearance at the Spectacular Night of Big Talks for Little People Gala, hosted by Adelaide-favourites and supporters of the program, Jess Adamson and Mark Soderstrom. We filled the room with bespoke animation loops projected at a large-scale across the walls of the Queens Theatre, welcoming special guests including Alan Young AM, John Mannion, Chris McDermott, Professor Tracey Wade, Professor Phillip Slee and Debbie Ryan and a full room of guests.