Calming influence works wonders

Schools play a vital role in supporting students’ wellbeing. Catholic Schools across our Diocese are fortunate to employ pastoral care workers who make a significant contribution to the needs of students.

Deanne March, pastoral care worker at St Benedict’s, Edgeworth, liaises with students, staff, and the wider community to foster a culture of wellbeing at the school. Since starting in 2019, she has implemented a number of programs and extra-curricular activities that assist students mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. With more than 30 years of experience, she understands the real issues students and their families face and seeks to find avenues to support them during these times.

Programs Mrs March is currently running at St Benedict’s include Zones of Regulation and Seasons for Growth. Zones of Regulation is offered across the school and teaches students to learn to recognise and self-regulate their emotions. Seasons for Growth helps students understand emotions in terms of grief and loss and provides them with tools to deal with these emotions.

In addition, there are other groups on offer for students, such as meditation, which currently has a regular attendance of 20 children. Gratitude journaling allows students to reflect on the positivity in their lives. There is also a Calm Down Area that students can access any time they need a quiet space. It supports their learning around managing and self-regulating their emotions.

Most days you can find Mrs March on the playground either before school or during breaks where she is able to be with students and develop strong relationships with them.

“I think that spending time wandering around the playground or ‘loitering with intent’ has helped to build trust and familiarity with a lot of the children,” says Mrs March. “They know that I am a safe person they can talk to. They can come into my room to talk, sit quietly, or pray when they need, without judgment”.

Before COVID-19, Mrs March ran “Coffee and a Chat” catch-ups in the school library with parents who needed someone to listen and support them. Through her years of experience, she has a wealth of resources and businesses to which she can refer parents. While she has been unable to facilitate courses with parents and the wider school community for the majority of the year, she looks forward to being able to again present programs such as 1,2,3 Magic, Engaging Adolescents, and Circle of Security, as well as continue “Coffee and a Chat” when restrictions ease.

The community at St Benedict’s is grateful for the work of Mrs March and looks forward to continuing to foster this culture of wellbeing across the school.

To find out more about St Benedict's, Edgeworth or to enrol your child, please click here. 

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