Director of Pastoral Care
In 2016, the work of all members of staff at Loreto is to care for the welfare and wellbeing of our students. The Pastoral Team has special responsibility to provide learning and social experiences for our girls that prepare them for a flourishing future, one they look forward to with optimism. In 2016 the Pastoral Team will continue to provide;
- Year-based programs aimed to inform students of social trends, latest research and advice, with safety and good health as the focus;
- House-based programs aimed to build inclusion and connection to the school and House through participation in activities, school events, discussions and extra-curricular activities;
- Good Mental Health programs will continue to be a focus with elements of positive psychology, growth mindset and appreciation of individual character strengths. In Term 1, all Year 8 students will participate in the Healthy Minds Program created by Dr Tom Nehmy and delivered by Dr Amanda Mullin. Tom will also revisit the key elements of the program with Year 9;
Student/Tutor Conversations continue to be a key element of our individual Pastoral Care for each and every student in Years 7 – 12. Conversations encourage our students to reflect and grow in understanding of how they learn and manage their emotional growth. Goalsetting is an important element of Conversations. Students are encouraged to be committed and reliable in scheduling their Conversations.
Some of our students will face the challenges of poor health, family upset, wobbly mental health that may lead to anxiety, depression and risky behaviours. Our counselling team is a great source of support as is your family GP. Reachout and Headspace are useful sites and full of fact sheets that may give you a starting point when discussing your concerns with your daughter or looking for strategies to help her.
Student attendance will be a focus in 2016. Please make full-day student attendance a priority. All appointments should be made out of school hours and students should plan ahead to avoid arriving at school late. All days at school are important.
In 2015, the staff at Loreto Normanhurst worked with Dr Judith Locke. I was taken by a comment she made:
Life is full of dropped ice creams, disappointments, moments of sadness. If you (teachers and parents) replace the ice cream, you are telling the child that you do not believe she can cope; If you (teachers and parents) replace the ice cream, you are modelling an expectation that disappointment will be fleeting and will always be dealt with by another person.
Let’s think before we step in to save and fix. We should ask ourselves “What is the most helpful thing for me to do right now?” Our young girls will develop a more resilient character if we allow them to feel the full spectrum of emotions, including discomfort, anxiety, sadness and disappointment.
As we begin our new academic year, I would like to acknowledge the contribution, leadership and spirit of Mrs Gemma McDermott, Dean of Pastoral Care from 2010 to 2015. Mrs McDermott worked energetically for the wellbeing and growth of our students and was a strong leader on our Pastoral Team. She is an expert teacher of Mathematics and brought great generosity, knowledge, dedication and a sense of fun to her role. She leaves Loreto Normanhurst to move to a leadership role in another school.
Ms Mary Bryant has been a School Counsellor at Loreto Normanhurst for the past nine years and she has left Loreto to accept a position in pastoral care in the health sector. Mary is valued for her work with students and parents, expert contributions to the Pastoral Team, parent presentations and her weekly articles for the school newsletter aimed to inspire us to slow down and care for our mental wellbeing. Mrs McDermott and Ms Bryant leave Loreto Normanhurst with our appreciation and all our very best wishes.
The Pastoral Team is looking forward to a wonderful school year with your daughter and encourages your communication with the Head of House. Please contact your daughter’s Head of House, Mrs Elsa Vink – Acting Dean of Pastoral Care , or me on firstname.lastname@example.org if concerns persist.
Mrs Gabrielle Stooke
Director of Pastoral Care