The following Principles underpin and permeate an agreed understanding of Pastoral Care that enhances the wellbeing of all persons involved in Catholic education within the Diocese of Lismore:
- Pastoral Care is founded in Jesus Christ and the Gospel imperative that every person, particularly the students we serve in Catholic schools, might be enabled to achieve the fullness of life (John 10:10).
- Pastoral Care is concerned with the inherent dignity and wellbeing of each person.
- Pastoral Care in Catholic schools is infused by the Catholic Worldview and nurtured through a life of prayer and sacramental living.
- Pastoral Care is the concern of each person involved in Catholic education, under the leadership of the school Principal.
- Pastoral Care is enacted through, and embedded within, reciprocal relationships – including student-teacher; student-student; teacher-teacher; principal-teacher; parent-teacher, priest-student; priest-teacher and other relationships.
- Pastoral relationships incorporate dimensions of authentic recognition in which every individual experiences being cared for, respected and valued.
- Parents play a key role in Pastoral Care and schools work closely and collaboratively with them in promoting the wellbeing of students.
- Pastoral Care and wellbeing is critically dependent on student participation, which means creating opportunities for students to have a voice in matters that concern them at school.
- Pastoral Care is embedded within and across all domains of school life.
- Pastoral Care promotes and enhances wellbeing – including spiritual, social, emotional, psychological, intellectual and physical dimensions.
- Pastoral Care requires a comprehensive, multi-level whole-school approach on a continuum from universal to targeted needs – including primary prevention, early intervention, intervention and postvention responses and initiatives with students and families.
Educational Research on Emotional Wellbeing –
According to current research, a student’s emotional wellbeing, the quality of their relationship with their teacher and their engagement in learning all contribute to their overall wellbeing (Hart, Sutherland, Tan, Oski 2014). Student wellbeing is also influenced by home background factors and community factors. However, at Mt St John’s we look closely at student wellbeing in a number of ways.
We regularly interview our students in class groups. We ask open questions such as: What do you like about school? and What gets in the way of your learning? Through these questions the students help staff form an understanding of how students feel about being at school and what can be improved upon. All students in Years 3 – 6 also complete student surveys conducted through Insight SRC annually that give us their perception about how they are feeling at school.
How we Support Student Wellbeing at Mt St John’s –
Staff at Mt St John’s view Student Wellbeing as critically important to their Academic Achievement. To support Student Wellbeing at Mt St John’s we have the following in place:
- School Counsellor
- Speech Pathologist
- Garden Club
- Craft Club
- Kids Tutoring Kids (a lunch time group run by students)
- Positive Behaviour for Learning
- Staff Agreed Practice
- Engaging Learning Environments