Climate Schools was developed by researchers currently based at the Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Use at the University of Sydney, Australia, formerly based at the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre (NDARC), School of Psychiatry, and the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use at UNSW Sydney.
This curriculum-based online program is designed to be administered by teachers within classrooms. The program involves 6 x 45-minute lessons, each with two components:
- A 15-minute computer-based component.
- Teacher delivered classroom activities.
No specialist teacher training is required. Booster sessions are also available. This module is ideally delivered 6 months to 1 year after the Climate Schools: Alcohol and Cannabis Module.
The Climate Schools: Psychostimulant and Cannabis Module was developed for 14-15 year olds and aims to prevent and reduce drug use and related harms. Designed to be implemented within the school health curriculum, Climate Schools is based on a social influence approach to prevention and uses cartoon storylines to engage and maintain student interest and involvement.
Students follow six episodes of an online cartoon-based drama about teenagers and their experiences. Through the storyline, students learn different drug classifications and their effects, the short and long term consequences of psychostimulants and cannabis, how to identify drug-related risk and stay safe, communication styles and being assertive, problem-solving skills, legal implications of drug use, and how to get help. Each episode ends with a short quiz to assess and consolidate learning. The class and homework activities are designed to reinforce the material taught in the cartoon and encourage students to apply the preventative messages and skills. Feedback indicates that teachers and students enjoy the program, and implementation within the classroom environment is highly feasible.
Training and Costs
Access to Climate Schools is currently FREE to help support school staff, parents and young people during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note there is usually an annual subscription cost of $250-$950. If your school already has an active paid subscription, the subscription expiry date will be extended to account for this complimentary period (not action is required).
Climate schools Pty LTD was established in 2015 by Maree Teesson and Nicola Newton to distribute the Climate Schools programs and maximise social well-being. Refer to the website for registration and subscription details.