My goal has been to “touch hearts” and in doing this it has been about acknowledging and relating to people as individuals- helping each person feel that they are noticed and matter and are significant and special. My role as Pastoral Care Worker is being concerned with the total wellbeing of students and with the development of the whole person. The philosophies underpinning pastoral care has been the active pursuit of programs and practices aimed at promoting and supporting wellbeing and school ethos, the climate and atmosphere in which the staff and students learn and work, and are complimentary to each other.
Since joining the team at Holy Spirit my goal has been to find ways in which to spend time with each child individually and provide opportunities for the development of a meaningful and positive relationship, to be a positive role model with all I come into contact with in the school environment as well as my liaison with the local community and other organisations in our network of support. I link to all the school activities in an attempt to be relevant to the school programs and to encourage and support the teachers in their roles as leaders and mentors. The two days per week are very full and busy.
Pastoral Care is central to the ethos of the school; we promote the full physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, emotional and spiritual development of students. All the activities I have initiated or been part of have been governed by my desire to make the learning environment a positive, stimulating, inclusive, and happy place with a positive regard role model for all.
The development of the Indigenous Friendship Group has been a major project this year. We were able to receive a small amount of project funding through the CSO to develop the group and undertake the totem pole installation in the school grounds. We were able to provide a fortnightly gathering for the indigenous children with Joey Griffiths, Youth Worker from Mindaribba Local Aboriginal Land Council leading the sessions. Following a visit to Kurri Kurri Public School we felt confident to embark on a totem pole project. An Information Sheet was developed to ensure that the parents and the rest of the school were kept in touch with our activities.
We have recently completed the painting of the six totem poles which had been installed at the front of the playground. These can be viewed by people passing by as well as providing a special space for the indigenous children to gather for special events and celebrations of their culture. Indigenous students and their parents assisted with the design and painting of the poles. We also had support from Louise Campbell Indigenous Education Officer who came to our school to teach the group about their culture and assist with the final painting of the friendship circles on each pole to join the designs together and signify their importance as a meeting place in our school.
On Tuesday 18th November we arranged for Mrs Tammy Wright, a Gamilaroi Woman, to attend and perform a Smoking and Water Blessing of our poles, as well as the staff and all students. Mrs Wright is also a teacher at St Mary’s High School Gateshead, and we are grateful that she graciously accepted our call to perform a very moving and informative ceremony. Mrs Louise Campbell was also present and the children appreciated their attendance.
We would be happy for anyone to come and view the poles when in the neighbourhood.