Wellbeing and Faith
WHERE LEARNING IS THE
HEARTBEAT OF OUR CULTURE.
Strathcona Girls Grammar is committed to nurturing students’ learning through physical and mental wellbeing. Strathcona researched current wellbeing pedagogy and programming, and as a result launched the Feliciter (‘happy’) Program.
This program involved a bold change in the structure and delivery of pastoral care in the School to increase the wellbeing of students. We designed and implemented new initiatives such as The Buddy Program and the PAW (Pathways, Academics and Wellbeing) Model of mentoring to allow more effective relationships between students and greater connections with staff. Based on Strathcona’s values, the Feliciter program aims to empower creative, ethical young women who have an authentic sense of self and optimism for their future.
Anchored in research that each developmental stage has specific needs, the Feliciter Program focuses on what the students need for increased wellbeing at each year level. In the Middle School (Years 7-9), our program focuses on students fostering a sense of connection to their school environment. Across these years, girls are encouraged to focus on forming interconnections in their year levels. In the Senior School (Years 10-12), students are vertically House arranged and share physical spaces as a community.
We developed two new programs to run in our Feliciter Program. Firstly, The Buddy Program recognises Year 10 as a pivotal time of change for our students who return to our main Canterbury campus after 12 months of Year 9 at Tay Creggan, our learning space on the banks of the Yarra in Hawthorn. To reintegrate Year 10s into the fabric of our Senior campus, this leadership program connects them to the younger students in their House. The Buddy Program further assists our Year 7s with transition and the essential support required. The Buddy Program continues over two years where the students participate in both formal and informal activities with their buddies, build relationships and create organic opportunities for fostering meaningful relationships.
We created a new (Years 10-12) coaching model of pastoral care with the PAW Model. Inspired by the findings of the UNICEF’s November 2018 report on child happiness indicating the most significant influence on happiness at school is the relationships students have with teachers. The PAW model is based on the three discussion areas of: Pathways, Academics and Wellbeing. During the year, House Mentors arrange individual meetings with each student. These one-on-one discussions provide students with feedback and advice for how to develop her own goal/s and take ownership over how they are created and achieved. This process empowers the student to use her knowledge of her character strengths to set goals for the senior years of schooling and life beyond school.
Statistically we are showing a greater sense of community, general health and happiness at Strathcona. We are committed to constantly reflecting on what is working and what changes we can be make to improve outcomes in a rapidly changing world.
At Strathcona we recognise that Spirituality is an important part of student wellbeing. We provide students with a variety of ways to explore faith as we are aware that each student is different and will engage with spirituality in unique ways. We are proud of our Baptist Heritage and embody Christian values such as forgiveness, compassion, and reconciliation. Students at Strathcona gather together for whole school Easter and Christmas Services where students practise creative worship through art, dance, music and generosity. Our School Chaplain offers Senior School Chapel Services and Christian Education classes to allow students to engage in current world issues through a lens of faith and biblical values. Strathcona’s Chaplain can preside over Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals for those within our Strathcona community. Our Junior school students have regular Assemblies and Christian Education classes as opportunities to learn from the reflections and teaching from our Junior School Chaplain to discern their own place within humanity.
Strathcona offers several reflective spaces for students to pray and contemplate. These include, Lyle Chapel for class chapel services, the Theatrette for Year level Chapel services. We also have Bush chapel where student can sit in the midst of nature and daydream in their own time or within Christian Education lessons. Students also enjoy ‘prayer spaces’ where student can engage in meaningful activities related to forgiveness and reconciliation within stations set up in the chapel.
Strathcona has a vibrant lunchtime faith group called ‘Mustard’. This is a student lead group of Senior School Students who gather together weekly to explore issues of faith, friendship and spirituality. Students who participate in this group enjoy the connection that they have with each other and the engagement that they have in serving the school community through acts of service and prayer. We also have a very strong network of parents in our Parent Prayer group where they stay connected and up to date in a Whatsapp group. Praying parents meet twice per year with our chaplains to pray for the needs of our school community.
Strathcona has a strong emphasis on Student lead service. Our Year 12 Service leaders work with students to serve the community in a multitude of valuable ways. As an example, Senior students gather together to make sandwiches for Eat Up Australia which supplies vulnerable school children with school lunches. Students proudly use their creativity to hand make blankets for refugee women in Victoria. Student work to support our sponsor children from Baptist World Aid. We also support Tanzania student’s education at the school of St Jude through the provision of Scholarship funds.
We also have a large and impacting parents group called ‘Strathy Angels’ who regularly make food for Strathcona families suffering sickness or requiring support.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
At Strathcona we create a community of conscience. This environment ensures that Students’ voices, opinions and ideas are valued and respected by all. Student voice at gatherings such as assemblies is greatly anticipated and shared with all without censorship or restrictions.
An example of some of the current social justice issues are: race, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, nationality, education, mental or physical ability, the environment and Covid-19.
Social justice reminds us all at Strathcona that everyone deserves equal rights and opportunities and to be treated without prejudice.