Director of Pastoral Care
Educating the Head, the Heart, the Hands
We live in an ever-changing world where the role of the school has certainly become multi-faceted. Whilst teaching and learning remains our core business, the scope of learning has changed and the focus on holistic education has become fundamental to a ‘good education’. The holistic formation of students is one which nurtures ‘the head, the heart and the hands’ (Maher & Hanley, 2013) and at Loreto Normanhurst this is achieved through our FACE curriculum. Each aspect of FACE in turn seeks to foster our mission, where we encourage each student to fulfil her personal potential, whilst celebrating a joyous Christian faith centred on justice. We believe that nurturing the person spiritually. intellectually, socially and emotionally is fundamental to the growth of independent, articulate and compassionate young women.
In partnership with parents, we have a vital role to play in fostering social and emotional skills. Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is seen as the process of enhancing skills that allow a person to recognise and manage emotions, engage in positive relationships and have social awareness (Durlak & Weissberg, 2011). Research clearly shows that SEL is important for student wellbeing and the holistic development of young people in our 21st century world. There is ongoing consideration about the significant role that explicit education and schooling plays in this. The development of these skills at Loreto Normanhurst is both explicitly addressed through the Pastoral Care curriculum but also implicitly through the nurturing of relationships, and the climate of respect in and out of classrooms. Student participation in a range of extra-curricular activities, social justice initiatives and the mission of the School is also key to their holistic development.
A whole-school approach to Pastoral Care embraces all areas of the School community including school leaders, teachers, students and their families and is pivotal to social-emotional development (Cross & Lester, 2014). This in turn leads to improved student wellbeing and enhanced academic outcomes. There is much evidence to suggest that changing relationships, use of social media and societal pressures are all contributing factors to wellbeing issues in adolescents. These pressures may contribute to feelings of doubt, uncertainty and self-criticism. Our Pastoral curriculum focuses on extending our students’ understanding of their adolescent world, building their knowledge and confidence to make positive choices and developing social skills so that they may thrive in meaningful and authentic relationship with others. Our programs aim to assist students in developing coping strategies which teach them that they can grow from challenges and complexities. We aim to empower our students to take action when necessary and to act with justice and compassion. A student who is able to recognise their own emotions and appreciate the positives in their life, with capacity to face challenges by drawing upon their strengths, and when confronted with setbacks is able to bounce back with resilience – and one who is nurtured by faith and spirituality, viewing their world with hope and using their gifts for the good of others, is a student who is able to flourish and learn.
Education of the heart helps students understand that their talents are gifts that can be used for the good of others
Investing in the development of social and emotional capabilities, whilst fostering genuine relationships in which our students feel known and supported, will enable them to develop the skills to ensure their own wellbeing and through their learning enable them to grow as wise and outward-looking young women who are willing to make a difference. In partnership with parents, we hope to educate the head, the heart and the hands of our students and support them to develop positivity, compassion and responsible decision-making skills, so that they may embrace the future with confidence, optimism and hope.
Mrs Lynn Long
Director of Pastoral Care