Director of Pastoral Care
‘Flourishing’ is described by psychologist Dr Helen Street (2018), as “an interplay between our best individual selves and our best environment.” (Contextual Wellbeing; Creating Positive Schools from the Inside Out, pg.7). It is a reminder about the importance of making space for, and providing opportunities to, explicitly and purposefully enhance a whole-school approach to student wellbeing. It recognises the role of school culture, both explicit and implied that can be a true indication of the wellbeing potential in a school.
The Loreto Normanhurst Student Growth Model is a perfect example of providing opportunities for this interplay, which gives me an incredible sense of assurance that students at Loreto Normanhurst are able to ‘flourish’ academically, socially and emotionally. Within this model, growth occurs inside and outside the classroom, it is fostered by both individuals and community and equal importance is given to learning and establishing meaningful relationships.
What might our ‘best individual selves’ look like? For our students, this can mean their ability to manage complex situations, demonstrate resilience, problem-solve, possess self and social awareness, be open to challenging themselves, act responsibly and engage positively in the world around them. Social and emotional learning is transferable across all facets of the FACE Curriculum and is pivotal in developing social cohesion in the complex social system of a school.
To support students to be their best individual selves, the Pastoral Team has recently gone ‘back to basics’ by reinforcing the importance of engaging positively with those around them. As the 2020 Verity prayer reminds us to do the ordinary things well, so to have the students been challenged to embed kindness in how they act, how they think and how they speak. Students are reminded of the capacity they have to direct their own behaviours and thus they too, have a responsibility to shape the social norms in their school environment; in the classroom, on the sporting field and throughout the school grounds.
As we begin to engage with an evidence-based, school tailored, social and emotional learning program next term, there will be continued growth for each individual at Loreto Normanhurst. Framed within the context of the Loreto Charism and Mary Ward, is a strength-based and intentional wellbeing curriculum, that provides the ‘best’ environment that Dr Street alludes to. Wellbeing at Loreto is not a sprinkle here or a sprinkle there, rather, it is deeply rooted in the culture of the school; in our expectations, in the people, our policies, the day-to-day interactions, FACE curriculum and social norms. And herein lies the difference between wellbeing at Loreto Normanhurst and a band-aid approach that may be evident elsewhere.
Ms Sally Munro
Director of Pastoral Care