|11 Apr 2022|
Independent Catholic girl’s school, Loreto Normanhurst is proudly building on a forward-thinking approach to pastoral care to overcome the challenges presented by a lack of community connection.
Loreto Normanhurst’s considered approach to pastoral care focuses on the core protective factors of wellbeing. Specifically, fostering deeper connectedness and belonging in the school setting, strengthening social and emotional learning and resilience, and bolstering key relationships to ensure holistic support as students prepare to navigate a world of complex future challenges.
Speaking on the challenges faced by educators and steps to ensure the development of student social and emotional skills, Loreto Normanhurst Director of Pastoral Care, Sally Munro said:
“We’ve seen the impacts of decreased community connection on our students, with this only strengthening the importance of student wellbeing. Our pastoral care program is intentionally planned, structured, and delivered to amplify the scope of the protective factors for wellbeing. Providing the resources and activities needed to foster greater resilience, enhanced relationships and ultimately, student wellbeing outcomes.”
The school’s vertical pastoral structure connects and engages students across cohorts to enhance student’s sense of school community. Students are supported by a network of tutors, advisors who engage with them one-on-one to gain a greater understanding and actively take responsibility for each individual student’s wellbeing needs.
“Our vertical pastoral structure allows for greater connectedness as a school community and culminates in important events within the school calendar,” said Munro.
An annual highlight is the recently held Loreto Normanhurst Music Festival. The was event held at the ICC Sydney on March 25th and brought together 2,000 members of the Loreto school community.
"The Loreto Normanhurst Music Festival is a perfect example of our holistic and whole-school approach to student wellbeing which is underpinned by our strong pastoral structure. In addition to individual musical performances, the students from each House, with guidance from student House leaders, work collaboratively across the entirety of Term 1 to produce outstanding choir performances. The festival is an invaluable platform for student leadership, agency, autonomy and voice as well as for strengthening relationships and enabling a sense of belonging," said Munro.
Munro shares further insight into the shares how the Loreto Normanhurst Music Festival brings the school community together here.
Loreto Normanhurst’s OakSEED Program brings to life the values of the school, relationships and learning and the partnership with parents that underpin the school’s approach to Pastoral Care. Crafted in close consultation with clinical psychologist Dr Danielle Einstein, OakSEED is a preventative, social and emotional learning program that reinforces a whole-school approach to wellbeing. The program is designed to foster a caring educational environment focusing on positive relationship development where each girl is known and cared for as an individual.
Munro acknowledges that these protective factors extend beyond the personal development of each individual to include the environment in which they find themselves. Suggesting the innate importance of parents and educators ‘speaking the same language’ when it comes to providing emotional support.
“At Loreto Normanhurst, we embrace a holistic approach to student success. We strongly believe a culture of greater parental engagement has a positive impact on student outcomes, including a greater sense of personal competence and efficacy for learning,” said Munro.
Ms Marina Ugonotti, Principal of Loreto Normanhurst emphasised the importance of the school’s partnership with parents.
“Parents, as the primary educators, play a significant role in educating and shaping the values and thinking of their children. As a learning community, we engage parents in their daughters’ education in a range of ways, placing value on building a sense of community and developing authentic relationships,” said Ugonotti.
Ugonotti suggests the holistic approach has only increased in importance within a post-lockdown educational setting.
“We saw a heightened level of parental engagement during lockdown when students were learning remotely. Our innovative strategies work to continue to capture this level of positive engagement from our community to support student growth long-term.”
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