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Pastoral Care & Wellbeing

Wellbeing Literacy Initiative in Years 7 – 9

“The goal is to turn data into information and information into insight.” Carly Fiorina, former chief executive officer, Hewlett Packard

Recently Year Level Directors met to discuss the insight gained from the range of surveys we conducted across the community this year. As Cathy Fiorina indicates, data is essential to continuous improvement, and this is something we strive towards at St Michael’s. While the data was affirming in many ways, a number of areas have been identified by Year Level Directors as opportunities for growth that they will continue to develop and nurture in their cohorts through a range of age-appropriate strategies.

One of these is areas is wellbeing literacy. Simply put, this relates to how people communicate about their wellbeing and the strength of their awareness and understanding of strategies available to achieve it in their lives. Schools play an important role in developing their students’ ability to articulate wellbeing, both in Pastoral and Curriculum areas, as holistic learners. We know how important literacy is in general for student life outcomes. Wellbeing literacy elevates the importance and accessibility of wellbeing, as it allows people to have agency in nurturing both their wellbeing and those of others.

To this end, a new initiative is being trialled in Year 7 and 8 this term, as one example. With the generous support of Library staff, excerpts from a range of appropriate books have been distributed to 2 classes in each year level: 7B5, 7G3, 8G3 and 8B5. In moments during classes, and/or silent reading in English, students are encouraged to read the brief excerpts, discuss the ideas, and head to the library to borrow the book to read more, when convenient. The objective is for students to read about wellbeing, tools and language in context, have some dialogue around it, and also encourage strong readership, which, as we know is so fruitful in developing many qualities, including social intelligence, empathy and gratitude.

We look forward to sharing further insights of the journey ahead!

Ms Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Wellbeing Initiatives Leader

YEARS 7-9 WELLBEING CHARACTER STRENGTH FOCUS

Week 5: CREATIVITY

Charles H Duell, once the commissioner of the US Patent Office, is quoted to have said that the patent office would shrink in size and eventually close because “everything that can be invented has been invented.” That was reported to have been in 1889!

Sounds unbelievable, doesn’t it? Whilst there is some controversy about who said this and the context, it raises some interesting ideas about Creativity and our ability to see beyond the horizon of current innovation. Either way, it seems hard to fathom that this could have been a genuine thought at the time, especially considering the volume of change that we have navigated since then!

There are many amazing examples of Creativity in the world, both past a present, beginning with creation. “In the beginning God created heaven and earth,” Genesis Ch. 1.

It’s true that we live a more comfortable and longer life because of Creativity, though in some cases it has complicated life too. We can all think of artists, musicians, scientists, inventors, builders, storytellers whose Creativity has had an impact on us. These include people like: Einstein, Da Vinci, Curie, Jobs, Spielberg, Rowling, Tolkien… those who disperse colour, hope and longevity into our lives, particularly in recent times. It’s sometimes easy for us to forget our COVID journey, but Creativity has been pivotal not only in finding health solutions but also in ensuring that life had as much sense of normality as possible and allowed us to maintain connections when the future was not clear.

At St Michael’s, we see amazing examples of Creativity in the learning experiences and opportunities offered to our students- not just in the vast range of curriculum areas in classrooms, but also outside of the classroom through many opportunities to grow, including Eco Squad and co-curricular areas. Being creative comes in many forms and can be in any environment. For our Eco Squad, it’s in designing and planting new garden beds. It’s in reusing old materials to create beautiful new items. It’s bringing colour and life into a previously unused space. That’s so significant!

Creativity is about taking our ideas and dreams and turning them into reality. People who are creative are often able to see hidden patterns, they connect things that may not seem related on the surface and create innovation. It’s a strength that supports problem-solving and is also highly appreciated by the business and employment world.

Sometimes Creativity can seem to occur accidentally, without us even trying. Many people have creative insights on the brink of sleep, whilst walking or in the shower, for example! I’m sure that many of us have experienced a lightbulb moment when we least expect it! It feels great- thank you brain!

Week 6: Kindness

Science evidences that Kindness is so good for our physical and mental health and is an instrumental building block for healthy relationships and community.

As a Catholic school in the Lasallian tradition, we often reflect on the teachings of St John Baptist de La Salle, who is also the patron saint of teachers. He is credited with establishing a philosophy and practice of teaching which encompasses the whole student, and which teaches the value of love and Kindness. St John Baptist de La Salle was ahead of the game!

In truth, I believe that we are all inherently kind. Sometimes our intentions may get a bit confused, or we may not be at our best, and sometimes it’s also true that we can focus more on what’s wrong, rather than what’s right, so that the Kindness in front of us is not the first thing we see.

When I look around me in this community, I feel safe that we can look to the future in the hope of being forces of positive change. Earlier this year our Kindness week worked to ‘immunise’ us against more negative behaviours such as bullying. The week focused on stronger awareness and promotion of this strength as Year 7s took a pledge to counter bullying behaviours with Kindness, led by their newly appointed class leaders, students in Year 8 and 9 swapped tokens such as Kindness cookies (made by Year 9 Food Tech students) focusing on what they admire in each other. Across the Campus, posters and visual reminders focused on the power of Kindness and its contribution as an agent of change in our community and the world. The posters remain in place as a reminder of the value we place on this strength.

Today in Chapel, as will Year 7 students later this week, Year 8 students focused on Jesus’ Kindness and recognized Kindness in the character Olaf from Frozen. They challenged their peers to work constructively on acts of Kindness this week, supported by an excellent clip featuring Simon Sinek, who spoke about the triple benefits of acts of Kindness. Sinek indicated that acts of Kindness bring positive emotions to the giver of the Kindness, to the recipient, but also to the onlooker! He encouraged us to imagine a world where each of us works towards a focus on Kindness and the consequences our actions can bring.

One of the fundamental teachings that we know of Jesus is to ‘love one another’– John 13:34. The wisdom of this advice prefaced the science of today by just a few years!

May we see and experience many acts of Kindness and have time to develop our Creativity and flow over the coming weeks! 😊

Ms Tonia Carfora, Year 7-9 Wellbeing Initiatives Leader

Christmas – Advent

At Advent and Christmas, we celebrate the birth of our Lord, we give praise and thanks, we reconnect with family and friends. Beginning the Church’s liturgical year, Advent, (from Latin adventus, “coming”), is the four week period of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ at Christmas. It starts on the Sunday 27th November and ends on the fourth Sunday before 25 December.

Advent Wreath

An advent wreath in our home or church is a reminder to prepare for the birth of Jesus at Christmas. When we light the candles on the wreath, it symbolises the coming of light (Jesus) into the world.

Candle 1 (violet): represents hope

Candle 2 (violet): represents peace

Candle 3 (rose): represents joy

Candle 4 (violet): represents love

 

 

The central white candle is lit on Christmas Day and represents Christ.

There is a link with guidance on how to make a wreath for your home and prayers you can say as a family.

Some interesting Advent web sites:

How to make your own advent wreath

Lasallian Advent reflections including videos created by Br. George Van Grieken, FSC

Advent Calendar

How Christmas is celebrated in countries around the world

History of the 12 Days of Christmas

Mr Robert Dempsey, Director of Mission

Hutt Street Bake Sale

Hutt Street Hero would like to thank the St Michael’s community. “Great fundraising and we appreciate you choosing to help people experiencing homelessness.”