Real Life

Pimpama State School might just be Australia’s happiest school

Placing their wellbeing first has changed the lives of these students and teachers.

By Lizzie Wilson
With yoga and massages available to teachers, and more smiles than you can count, it's not hard to see why Pimpama State School might just be Australia's happiest school.
Principal Marius Marx says the main focus at this pioneering school on the Gold Coast is to ensure its students and staff are positive and happy – ahead of anything else.
The school has won four Regional Showcase Awards for Excellence in the past six years.
"It's not rocket science! Happy teachers mean happy students, which can only mean happy parents. Combined with happy staff, you have a happy school," beams Marius, 53.
He admits that's a whole lot of happy, but then the proof's in the pudding.
With weekly yoga and personal training sessions, and a massage chair on offer for the staff, it's little wonder their students – and teachers – enjoy going to school.
"The focus is on the entire team, where everyone's wellbeing is just as important as the academics, sport and the arts," Marius explains.
The South African-born principal completed his education studies in his native homeland.
He moved to Australia 16 years ago with wife Lynn and daughters Chiara, now 21, and Chene, 18, in search of a better life.
"I learned early on if children are kind and happy, then productivity reigns… and it's working, so we must be doing something right," says Marius, adding he and the staff greet the kids daily at the schoolgate with a compliment.
"It encourages them to say nice things to each other. Anyone who comes here can feel the positivity."
With constant reminders good manners and a strong sense of respect will keep you on track in life, many schools are eager to follow Pimpama's formula.
"It's the simple things that count the most," reveals Marius.
"Every afternoon either myself or a senior staff member are at the gate to bid the kids farewell before they head home. Parents tell me how enthusiastic their kids are every morning – they can't wait to get to school!"
Students are greeted most days with compliments from Principal Marius Marx.

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