Pastoral Care & Wellbeing

Respectful relationships lie at the core of the School’s philosophy of Dignity, Respect, Care and Compassion (known throughout the St Michael’s community as DR CC). Teachers at St Michael’s are deeply committed to students’ wellbeing. As a result, students feel fully supported when pursuing their interests and honing their talents.

As students journey through St Michael’s, they gain the necessary skills to engage fully with their lives, respect and show compassion for themselves and others, care for their physical and emotional health, and connect socially and spiritually.

Students at St Michael’s move through four key learning stages: Learning to be at School (K–1), Learning to be a Student (2–5), Learning to be an Adolescent (6–9), and Learning to be an Adult (10–12). The Wellbeing curriculum supports students as they transition across these four stages.

House System

The St Michael’s House system teaches students about allegiance, loyalty and belonging. Central to wellbeing, the House system is interwoven with each student’s life. There are four St Michael’s Houses from Preparatory to Year 6, and five from Years 7 to 12.

Each student is accompanied by a close-knit House group through the years, jointly representing their House in community events, performances, assemblies and sporting contests.

Students take great pride in their House affiliation, with friendly rivalry adding a sense of excitement. Some students follow in their parents’ or grandparents’ footsteps by joining the same House. The House system guides students through school life, complemented by a dedicated team of professional tutors, class teachers, learning mentors and school psychologists who work in consultation with students, teachers and parents to foster a supportive and encouraging culture.

In Preparatory to Year 6, the four Houses and their colours are:

In Years 7–12, the five Houses and their colours are:

Students participate in many House activities, including Drama, Music, Debating, Aerobics, Swimming, Cross Country and Athletics.

In addition to the House System, several other wellbeing services are provided by St Michael’s.

Wellbeing Curriculum

‘Happiness, flow, meaning, love, gratitude, accomplishment, growth, better relationships constitute human flourishing.’
– Dr Martin Seligman, American psychologist, educator and author.

Wellbeing occurs when an individual has the resilience to encounter setbacks with perseverance and optimism. Our Wellbeing curriculum is informed by our school values of dignity, respect, care and compassion, and reflects our intention to provide a safe learning environment where students can grow into autonomous, continuous, flexible, resilient, creative and collaborative learners.

The Wellbeing curriculum, overseen by the Head of Wellbeing K–12, is embedded in the School’s core academic and co-curricular programs, as well as taught explicitly. Explicit learning is supported by five pillars: Respectful Relationships, Contributing Citizenship, Positive Learning, Health, and Spirituality.

Additional Learning Needs

A commitment to students’ learning is central to our thinking and planning. The Additional Learning Needs team assists teaching staff in catering for students’ strengths and needs, and provides a supportive, friendly environment in which students may learn.

For students requiring extra support, class teachers work with our team of specialist support staff to assess learning progress and develop suitable curriculum modifications and teaching strategies.

We also offer more intensive assistance through Language Experience (LEX) classes in Years 7–10. Offered in place of a Language for those students with diagnosed literacy difficulties, LEX focuses on developing key skills of reading comprehension, spelling and writing. Year 11 and 12 students are offered additional support individually or in small groups.

For more information, contact Ms Kate Hopkins at khopkins@stmichaels.vic.edu.au (K–6), or Ms Sarah Nathan at snathan@stmichaels.vic.edu.au (7–12).

School Psychology Service

St Michael’s has a team of psychologists who offer a range of services including observation, consulting, counselling, referral to external specialists, program development and professional learning for staff and parents. All Psychologists are registered with the Australian Health Practitioners Registration Authority (AHPRA), and bound by the Australian Psychological Society’s professional code of ethics.

We have a philosophy that every St Michael’s student has an opportunity to access the School Psychology Service. To this end, we have endeavoured to create a service that is responsive to students’ needs and utilises our network of internal and external professionals. From K–6, this occurs through the classroom teacher and Directors of Learning. In the upper years, students may access the service via their Heads of House or self-referral.

The St Michael’s School Psychology team are constantly updating their knowledge to ensure it is current and relevant. This, and their extensive experience working in a school environment, ensures they are able to provide a comprehensive range of services to students, parents, families and staff in a confidential setting and appropriate referral to external specialists as required.

Health

The Health and Wellbeing Centre is a welcoming place for students who feel unwell, are injured, or require emotional support. The centre is staffed by both Nurses and accredited Level 1 first aid assistants, with training in asthma and anaphylaxis management. Staff communicate regularly with families to ensure that each student’s medical needs are documented and supported.

The Health and Wellbeing Manager manages the Centre and ensures best-practice provision of health and wellbeing to students and their families. The position is held by a registered nurse experienced in clinical practice, encompassing all aspects of child and adolescent health and development. The Manager works closely with other Pastoral Care staff to initiate health and wellbeing programs, and promote awareness of health issues among the School community.

For more information, contact Mrs Jill Brennan at jbrennan@stmichaels.vic.edu.au.

Chaplains

The Chaplains share in providing for the pastoral wellbeing of students. They also lead regular worship, provide Christian spiritual leadership, and assist in the teaching of Religious Education curriculum. Opportunities such as Eucharist/Calm Space provide students with the time and space for contemplative thinking.

While St Michael’s is firmly grounded in the Anglican tradition and the values of the Community of the Sisters of the Church, it is a diverse and inclusive community. The Chaplains are also available to members of the St Michael’s community (including families and Old Michaelians) to assist in pastoral care matters, leading rites of passage and family celebrations.

For more information, contact Father Kenyon McKie at kmckie@stmichaels.vic.edu.au.