St Paul Apostle North School
At St Paul Apostle North our Wellbeing program is underpinned by our Catholic Faith and it is at the forefront of all that we do. We believe that each person’s wellbeing is nurtured by experiences of belonging, building relationships with others, feeling safe and supported and by engaging in positive partnerships within the school community and beyond. We promote the values of Compassion, Respect and Responsibility and are committed to providing opportunities for all members of the school community to develop these values by striving to be people who make a difference to their local and global communities.
In addition to our values and philosophies that promote wellbeing, we have several wellbeing initiatives that we are proud of.
Promoting and teaching our values of Respect, Care and Responsibility
A whole school, restorative approach to behaviour management
Implementing the Child Safe Standards
Buddy Program - each Prep student has a Grade 5 buddy, who supports their transition to school and acts as a role model for the first two years at school
Friendship Group Program - Students in Grade 2-4 all take part in a friendship group, which is a mix of students from different classes with a Friendship Teacher. This group provides a transition from the junior school, allows students to make new friendships, learn our values and leadership skills. It is also a transition for our Grade 4’s who take lead in the groups to our Senior Leadership Program
Senior Leadership Program - Our Grade 5/6 students take ownership of their school experience by implementing 21st Century skills and the Catholic Social Teachings in real life situations. This includes creating solutions to problems, designing and organising special events, representing our school in the wider community and more!
Berry Street Education Model and Respectful Relationships - Our staff build strong, trusting relationships with our students and teach them the skills to manage their emotions, problem solve, break down stereotypes and work with others.
Outdoor Learning - Our staff have had professional development in Outdoor Learning and we understand its importance and the benefits for wellbeing. We utilise our expansive grounds and the Australian Bushland surrounding our school as an outdoor classroom, to engage our students, encourage spatial awareness, gross and fine motor skills and develop social and emotional skills.
Pastoral Care Program - We offer students additional Social and Emotional support through small groups and one-on-one sessions.
As Catholic educators, we have a moral, mission driven, and legal responsibility to uphold and actively promote the wellbeing and safety of every student entrusted in our care.
Our commitment to the protection of students is enabled in nurturing, respectful and safe communities where the uniqueness and sacred dignity of every young person is celebrated and they are able to flourish in their learning and development. This vision is driven by the gospel message of love, justice and abundance, beautifully reflected in the words of John.
“I have come so that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10.10
At St Paul Apostle North we value student voice and meaningful participation in the decisions that affect our children. We use Hart’s Ladder of Participation to help inform us of how we can best share the power of decision making and student voice in our curriculum, policy making and day to day life in the classroom. Students use their interests to explore our curriculum content. They often have a voice in what they learn and how they show their understanding. This enables students to use their strengths and allows every student to experience success.
St Paul Apostle North uses the Berry Street Education Model (BSEM) as a whole school approach to teaching and learning. It is designed to increase student engagement, improve student’s self- regulation, growth and academic achievement. The strategies are based on trauma-informed practices, positive psychology and wellbeing practices.
There is a large focus on relationships at our school, with each staff member making a conscious effort to get to know our students and how to best support them on their journey, using the BSEM strategies.
Every day, each class begins with a morning circle, in which every student is greeted by name, daily routines and expectations are revised, and there is a discussion about how the class can show the school values that day. Each class has a “Ready to Learn Plan” which enables students to self-monitor and choose their own strategies to de-escalate or elevate their emotions and get ready to learn. Each class uses strategies such as brain breaks, to help students maintain concentration during learning time and students are explicitly taught about how their brain and body work and how to name, express and deal with emotions.
You might notice your children coming home a bit dirty sometimes. This is because at St Paul Apostle North we value outdoor learning and recognise the benefits for wellbeing and learning.
All year levels participate in outdoor learning in different ways. You might see our Juniors investigating what's hiding beneath rocks, in the grass and dirt. Our 3/4's participate in the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program and use our local bushland to build huts, and inspire their Writing and Inquiry learning. St Paul’s Senior students learn and explore in the local bushland, go on hikes while learning about Geography and our local area and participate in School Camp’s.
There are fantastic links to wellbeing such as learning how to solve problems, work in a team, development of resilience, feeling calm and less stressed. It also allows children who sometimes find classwork difficult to excel in hands-on learning opportunities and demonstrate their strengths.
Additionally, outdoor learning experiences can:
develop skills in listening and following directions.
enhance descriptive writing.
develop spatial awareness.
provide opportunities for STEM in a real life context.
develop a love of our environment.
encourage stewardship for God's creation.
We can't wait to get our hands dirty and learn more outdoors!
St Paul Apostle North uses the Respectful Relationships whole- school approach, which complements the Berry Street Education Model. We recognise that everyone involved in our school community deserves to be respected, valued and treated equally.
The Resilience, Rights and Respectful Relationships curriculum is a Victorian Government initiative that aims to promote gender equality, explicitly teach students social and emotional skills, problem solving skills, and help seeking. It was created in response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, with evidence to support the use of school-based programs to drive cultural change. Beyond the curriculum, the Respectful Relationships initiative is also a key factor in policies and procedures and school culture.