The voice of the child is the most important voice at Moriah College Primary School. Frequently, students visit with me during their lunch breaks to chat about a topic of their choice. Sometimes students raise the concern that they just don’t feel right inside; something is challenging them. Together, when we unpack the scrambled emotion, a simple concern is uncovered.

We work collaboratively so that the visiting student locates strategies to overcome the challenge at hand and influence his/her life positively.  In order for students to become the leader or positive influencer of themselves, they need to develop an understanding of the areas of concern that circle around in their minds and permeate their being in order to increase their influence over their worries. This process is called Balancing the “Circle of Concern” with the “Circle of Control” or Influence.

An ongoing education program on this very concept is extended to every student in the Primary School to ensure that they walk around with the capacity to regulate those worries which incapacitate them. This Monday’s assembly embodied such an education session and I urge parents to echo the language of empowerment used across our wellbeing discourse.


1.       We all walk around with various concerns. These can include aspects such as:

  • I am too tall.
  • I feel shy.
  • Nobody wants to be my friend.
  • I get nervous in a test.
  • I am not good at maths.
  • I don’t like the colour of my eyes.
  • I am scared to speak in public.

2.       It is important to unpack our list of concerns and separate them into two lists.

The first list details those things that we cannot change and simply need to learn to love and live with. So, from the list of concerns above, these would be:

  • I don’t like the colour of my eyes; and
  • I am too tall.

The second list details those things we can change. This would include:

  • I feel shy.
  • Nobody wants to be my friend.
  • I get nervous before a test.
  • I am not good at maths.
  • I am scared to speak in public.

3.       In order to move each aspect detailed in the “circle of concern” (the second list), into the “circle of control”, certain bridging skills need to be purposefully developed to meet our individual challenges. 

These skills could include:

  • Rehearsing social interactions and testing them out in guided situations to build confidence and the knowledge of how to establish connection with others.
  • Using simple breathing exercises to eliminate nerves and access a calm space.
  • Analysing trigger points that cause conflict in relationships in order to locate an alternate behaviour that replaces conflict with compassion and ultimately good companionship.
  • Identifying what makes a learning area challenging and building skills to progress performance..
  • Building public speaking skills by initially communicating with a small audience via a simple presentation and building capacity gradually using a range of skills to increase capacity.


In order to encourage our students to use this model whenever they come to us with an identified concern, or the educators observe a concern, a collaboration is conducted to address the concern and locate a positive influence to overcome the difficulty. We even use a diagram to guide our discussion.

Ultimately, the child is encouraged to become assessment capable. This means he/she can identify his/her own concerns and match it with a skillset to be developed in order to overcome the challenge. What existed in the child’s circle of concern now enters the circle of control. 


Parents are partners in this process of growing Moriah students to be the best version of themselves. I invite them to share the discourse used by the educators and refer to this model in order to assist their children. You could possibly share the Moriah College TED-style talk (click here) to assist with this and then branch into a more personalised discussion.

The importance of getting our internal emotions well regulated so that the external manifestations of self are the best they can be is critical to the success of each person in our learning community. It is evident that we share the same dreams as we grow our children together to become positive “influencers” of their own world as well as the world of others.


Lynda Fisher is the Head of Primary School at Moriah College in Queens Park, NSW.

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