As a Catholic school, St Mary’s shares in the mission of the Catholic Church. Christ’s commandment, “love one another as I have loved you” is the basis of all faith communities. Pastoral care gathers all the qualities and practices within a community that seek to make this commandment real.
Wellbeing is the concept which underpins pastoral care. St Mary's is focused on the wellbeing of the whole school community. We are conscious of the need to promote healthy wellbeing in all areas of the human person.
Where a need for specific assistance is identified, St Mary’s offers the services of a school counsellor and pastoral care worker. These can assist the students with day-to-day issues or more pressing and ongoing needs of the individual. Specific programs can be run both individually or in small group situations to target needs as required throughout the year, such as the Seasons for Growth (bereavement) program.
However, St Mary’s has a number of programs to assist all children with various aspects of their wellbeing as we strive to become a school of Positive Education. These include:
All staff have received professional development in the area of Visible Wellbeing. This learning, presented by Professor Lea Waters, combines the science of wellbeing with the science of learning and teaching to make wellbeing visible in all classes and across all areas of the curriculum.
Visible Wellbeing aims to help everyone thrive at school and the training and techniques are equally relevant to staff as they are to students as a way to build a culture of wellbeing across the entire school.
During the course of our professional learning, we have learnt about supporting students in identifying and engaging in using their character strengths to help them feel energised, ready to learn, able to self-regulate and engage with the world around them.
Students are taught the explicit skills to enable them to succeed in life and be best equipped to face some of life’s challenges. Each class is engaged in the Bounce Back program which teaches students practical strategies to help them cope with the complexity of their everyday lives and learn how to “Bounce Back” when they experience sadness, difficulties, frustrations and challenging times.
At St Mary’s we have a whole school approach to behaviour management adopted by a positive behaviour program - Positive Behaviour For Learning [PB4L]. This approach has a strong emphasis on teaching appropriate behaviours and providing systems of support to bring about these positive behaviours.
PB4L is focused on proactive strategies for defining, teaching and supporting appropriate student behaviours to create a positive school environment. The aim of Positive Behaviour Support is to actively teach and reinforce desired behaviour while implementing consistent, reasonable, mostly positive intervention to address challenging behaviours. Preserving and building a child’s self-esteem and image as well as encouraging self-monitoring of behaviour are vital components of the positive approach.
UR STRONG PROGRAM
The UR STRONG program is being taught explicitly to all children from Kindergarten to Year 6. It teaches children the skills to develop healthy relationships, based on kindness and respect, from a young age. It is a preventative approach where students develop a common language for dealing with social issues. By teaching this program, we aim to strengthen social skills whilst creating resilient, empowered and empathetic friends.