“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with some wonderful people to work together to address a growing concern and that is the emotional wellbeing of our younger generation.”

Components of ELVA

School Participation

ELVA offers schools teacher professional learning, assistance during the implementation stage and support in engaging the whole school community.

Teacher Professional Learning

Participating in Teacher Professional Learning (TPL) is essential for teachers implementing the ELVA approach. The teachers will gain an understanding and experience of ELVA including the core components of implementation. The training is designed to assist capacity building in teachers in both the theoretical and experiential fields.

The TPL incorporates an understanding of individual capacity; integrates experiential learning; places emphasis on the facilitator-teacher relationship, focuses on establishing a safe and supportive learning environment; and recognises the presence of the wider environment that may influences the training. Guided by these principles, the content of the TPL was developed.

The pace and delivery of the content is informed by participant feedback and facilitator reflection. This flexibility within acceptable boundaries reflects the complex relationship between the six domains. The TPL is delivered through three components: Theory, Implementation and Experiential.

 Reverie video, 2013 The Dax Centre


"It was a wonderful opportunity to meet with some wonderful people to work together to address a growing concern and that is the emotional wellbeing of our younger generation.



Training Models

TPL is currently delivered through two training models: whole school staff training or selected staff training.

  • Whole School Staff Training
  • ELVA offers training at a whole school staff level. This model of training is conducted after careful consultation and discussion with the school leadership regarding alignment and readiness of the staff and school culture to the ELVA approach. In this model two Dax Centre facilitators deliver the training on-site over a period of 12 months at times negotiated between the school and facilitators.
  • Duration: 12 months onsite
  • Selected Staff Training
  • Selected staff training entails staff from approximately 10 schools coming together to participate in the TPL. After consultation with each school they are encouraged to choose a minimum of two and a maximum of three teachers (e.g. visual art teacher, wellbeing coordinator and curriculum leader) to participate. This creates a group of around 25 teachers from up to 10 different school setting. For this model the TPL is delivered over the first 12 months of the schools involvement with ELVA through six day-long trainings at The Dax Centre and an onsite consultation at the school. The first four of the training days are held in the six months with the remaining 3 training held at a rate of one per term.
  • Duration: 12 months Onsite/Remote

Data is subject to change

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    The theory component contains:

    The core principles and domains that inform ELVA. This includes sessions of neuroscience, psychodynamic theory and include a focus on containment and boundaries and safe and supportive environments. This theory is linked with practice through discussions on the place and impact of the teacher on student learning and creating emotionally safe and supportive environments for teachers and students.
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    The implementation component includes:

    The history of ELVA, and an examination of implementation models within the art room, classroom and whole school. It looks at the place of ELVA within the visual arts curriculum and as a complementary element within the student wellbeing approach of the school. This component also covers the ELVA units of works, and other the supporting documents.
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    The third component is the experiential art making:

    This provides the TPL facilitators an opportunity to model for the teachers the theory and discussion from the previous two components. Through art making experiences it is hoped that the theory and the practice come together. During this time the teachers participate in art making activities, developed using the ELVA principles and designed to provide an opportunity to experience sense making through art making.

Download the Elva Schools Manual

Introductory workshops
This workshop is an introduction to ELVA. It provides a brief overview of the theoretical frame underpinning ELVA and implementation models and teacher professional learning and a small experiential component. Through questions and discussion, this session that will assist school leadership, curriculum coordinators, wellbeing staff, classroom teachers and art teachers to assess if ELVA is a good ‘fit’ for their school community. Cost $50.00 (+GST) Facilitator: Dax ELVA
This comprehensive session is designed to provide participants with an overview of ELVA. The session includes a review of the theoretical frame underpinning ELVA, a discussion of the contribution ELVA can make to both wellbeing and visual arts, and an opportunity to see how ELVA looks within schools. This session will also provide an opportunity to explore our two models of teacher professional learning: whole school training and; selected staff training and will provide participants with an opportunity to engage in an ELVA art making experience. This session will assist school leadership, curriculum coordinators, wellbeing staff, classroom teachers and art teachers to assess if ELVA is a good ‘fit’ for their school community. Cost $120 Facilitator: Dax ELVA
The impact of healthy teacher-student relationships on connectedness, resilience and student learning is well documented. This experientially based teacher professional development employs visual art as a tool to enhance self - awareness and empathy; the cornerstones of healthy relationships. Within this workshop: -We will explore the contribution of healthy teacher-student relationships to student social, emotional and learning outcomes. -Participants will be lead through an experiential session drawing from the works of the Cunningham Dax Collection. - A guided tour of the Cunningham Dax Collection This workshop is designed for all teachers and school leadership who seek to develop healthy relationships with their students. It is designed to support our understanding of self and contribute to our capacity to empathise with students. Please note: You do not have to be ‘arty’ to attend! Cost $250 Facilitator: Dax ELVA
This comprehensive training module is designed for teachers and clinicians who have completed the initial ELVA training and have been implementing ELVA in their school for at least one year. It is designed for those educators and clinical staff who wish to facilitate the teacher professional learning component of ELVA. The training covers: - A review of the theoretical frame; - Implementation and support strategies for school groups; and - Techniques for facilitating experiential sessions. Participants would be expected to complete the reading material and facilitate sessions as part of their training. (Supervision would start after participants have begun working with groups/schools). Facilitators would commit to being available to run at least one and no more than two training groups per year, and/or to facilitate ELVA workshops. Eligibility Facilitators are drawn from teachers who have completed the ELVA teacher training and have implemented ELVA in their school. Cost $2000 (+GST) Facilitators: The Dax Centre ELVA training supervisors. 4 days plus follow up supervision twice a year.
Implementation Stage

Ongoing Support


The Dax Approach is a universal approach to developing emotional capacity in all students within the school. It is not designed as an intervention for a targeted group of students with identified issues. During the implementation phase it is expected that the model be delivered to the whole class during the visual arts lessons. Depending on the individual school, the model may be delivered to all classes in the school or to a selection of classes. 


Trained teachers are encouraged to implement 10 ELVA sessions in the class from the units of work created using the Dax Approach. This implementation is to be encouraged after the initial four training days have been completed. (These could include units of work developed by the Dax Centre, or units of work developed by the trained teachers using the Dax Approach and after approval by The Dax Centre). The teacher may choose to spread the units out over the four terms or as a block of 10 sessions. All units of work relate to current curriculum standards, assessment and reporting protocols.

School Community

The Dax will continue supporting the school after the conclusion of the teacher professional learning phase through access to web based resources, supporting documentation, email support and through hosting the annual Dax ELVA Symposium.

Expectations and Considerations for School Participation

There are certain considerations pertaining to schools participating in the ELVA approach. As ELVA involves both visual arts and wellbeing it is essential that schools have a culture that values the emotional world of all within the school community. It is also important that the school has additional support systems for students and teachers such as chaplains and social workers.

The Principal must be informed about and demonstrate support for the implementation of the ELVA Dax approach within their school community. The teachers involved need to be committed to the TPL and implementation of the implementation of ELVA in their school.



"It was refreshing to be a part of training for emotional literacy because I feel it is just as an important part of children’s lives as other areas of the curriculum … perhaps more!

Benefits and costs for schools
  • Training in and experience with the Dax approach to Visual Arts.
  • Access to a complementary approach to supporting student wellbeing.
  • Building teacher capacity and promoting teacher reflection.
  • Eligibility to attend the annual ELVA Symposium
  • Access to web based resources.
  • Support in implementing the Dax Approach.
  • Assistance in deepening whole school engagement with ELVA
  • The cost of training implementation and support is approximately $1800* +GST/per teacher.
  • Each school is encouraged to choose a minimum of two and a maximum of three teachers (e.g. visual arts teacher, wellbeing coordinator and curriculum leader) to complete the training.
  • Time allocation to communicate with Dax consultant.
  • Participation in the evaluation process.

*Please contact the ELVA project Manager at The Dax Centre to discuss the cost for Whole School Staff Training