Wellbeing is a key focus of holistic health in society today and thus has also become a key component of education pedagogy in schools, both independent and state, particularly due to growing public concern over increased levels of adolescent mental health disorders.
Schools clearly have a role in supporting students to understand the significant links between wellbeing, general good health and improved academic performance.
Ensuring programs remain relevant, consistent with contemporary research and geared around progressive educational agendas empowers our students in an increasingly complex world. A thorough review was undertaken of the Strathcona Pastoral Care and Wellbeing program in 2017 conducted by Lucinda Thom and her research and recommendations have been considered by the Senior Leadership Team, the Pastoral Team, staff and students.
A Strathcona Strategic Wellbeing model has been developed and adopted and has commenced in 2019.
It is titled The ‘Feliciter’ Wellbeing program and is the blueprint for a sequenced K-12 Wellbeing program that will run throughout a variety of different formats – designated Wellbeing/PE/Health classes, year level sessions, incursions and excursions. It will be documented and reviewed so that it evolves with the changing needs of the students and best practice and research.
One of the many recommendations based on research was that Strathcona extend the House system. We had already begun the process of initiating a stronger House focus, but we are now extending it further. All students in Years 10 to 12 will be grouped in a Vertical House System for their Pastoral/Wellbeing groups. Years 7, 8 and 9 girls will be in their year level groups with their year level Coordinator and will also be grouped in Houses. In the middle years, these House groups will also form their classes for their core subjects.
This will allow for increased pastoral care, (vertical mentor groups and peer support), more opportunities for leadership, greater identification within Strathcona in something other than the classroom, more of an opportunity to participate with students from other years and a chance to develop a sense of belonging and ownership of a House, and associate with the teachers in a different environment.
In Year 10, each student will be allocated a House mentor who will remain constant through Year 10, 11 and 12, students three years of senior schooling and VCE.
Our Cross Age and Mentor/buddy programs will also be strengthened through the House program.
To be developed further is a Wellness Landscape around Strathcona which will include a wellness dedicated technology free space, aromatherapy diffusers in key areas and opt in sessions in such things as yoga, meditation, study skills, aerobics and nutrition.
At Strathcona each student is known, respected, encouraged and cared for by all staff. We feel very strongly that our school is a community that offers optimism, hope, growth, ethical thinking and behavior through our Pastoral and Wellbeing program and this will only be strengthened throughout 2019 and beyond.