Pastoral Care and Wellbeing
At St Patrick’s, we believe that wellbeing is the concept which underpins pastoral care and is an ongoing experience of wholeness and hope integral to learning, overall health and life success. Wellbeing encompasses nurturing the self, giving to others and building and celebrating community. As a Catholic school, we seek to positively influence student wellbeing through our programs and practices in the following components: social and emotional learning for students, working with parents and carers, helping students with mental health issues and the learning environment.
St Patrick’s is focused on the wellbeing of the whole school community. We are mindful of the need to promote healthy wellbeing in all areas of the individual. We recognise the flow-on effects of mental wellbeing to academic achievement and whole-of-life satisfaction.
Our pastoral care finds its authenticity in, and is modelled on, the person of Jesus Christ, who is its focus, source of strength and inspiration. The responsibility of care is entrusted to all members of the school community. We recognise that all people are made in the image and likeness of God, and that the dignity and uniqueness of each person is therefore paramount. The school community, grounded in the Gospel of Jesus, is imbued with a sense of compassion, tolerance, forgiveness, reconciliation and justice.
In pursuit of these aims, we have several programs and practices in place.
- Through the ‘You Can Do It’ program, we aim to develop the social and emotional capabilities of the students. The five “keys” are confidence, organisation, persistence, getting along and resilience.
- Through the “Positive Behaviour for Learning” (PBL) program, we have a schoolwide approach for teaching behavioural expectations so that we may maintain a safe environment where students value learning and respect the rights of themselves and others. Our school rules are broadly summarised as follows: Be Safe, Be Respectful and Be Responsible. The teachers use a variety of reward systems in the classroom and on the playground to encourage and affirm positive behaviour.
- We facilitate social skills programs for small groups of students. These programs, which are run as the need arises, aim to build social and emotional competencies in students.
- Each Kindergarten student is paired up with a Year 5 student as a means of enabling a mentor relationship between each pair of students.
- All students are welcome at St Patrick’s. Those students with additional needs are offered extra support in the classroom and on the playground. St Patrick’s is inclusive of students from a range of cultures and religious traditions, and it is this diversity that enriches us as a school.
- Disciplinary measures and sanctions should not be approached merely as punitive actions, but in the context of endeavouring to fostering responsibility and change.
Pastoral Care Worker
Our Pastoral Care Worker (PCW) is employed for 3½ hours per week. The PCW offers advice and guidance to students, families and staff members in a variety of situations, such as family illness, financial hardship, loss of a loved one and student attendance. The PCW offers advice regarding parenting skills and in networking with external agencies, both religious and secular. In summary, the PCW promotes pastoral processes that nurture a culture of care, inclusion and wellbeing for students, families and staff within our community.
Where a need for specific assistance is identified, St Patrick’s offers the services of a School Psychologist. The school runs a number of programs throughout the year targeted to the needs of individual students.
When students enrol in Kindergarten at St Patrick’s, they are supported in their transition by a buddy, who is allocated to them from the following year’s Year 5 class. These buddies work throughout the last terms of the pre-school year to help the new Kindergartens learn the routines of the school and settle into life at ‘big school’. This support continues throughout the year, with students often creating lifelong bonds.
LEARNING SUPPORT TEAM
A Learning Support Teacher, several Learning Support Assistants, an English as an Additional Language or Dialect Teacher, Aboriginal Education Teacher and a Gifted Education Mentor, supports students at St Patrick’s in their learning. The Learning Support Team meets with classroom teachers to support the wellbeing and academic needs of the students.
St Patrick’s has access to the services of a psychologist, provided through the Catholic Schools Office, working at the school one day per week. The psychologist provides support with academic and social assessments. Recommendations are made to assist parents and teachers to cater for the ongoing educational needs of the students.