As a Catholic school, St James’ shares in the mission of the Catholic church. Christ’s commandment, “to love one another as I have loved you” is the basis of all faith communities. Pastoral care gathers all the qualities and practices within a community that seek to make this commandment real.
Wellbeing is the concept that underpins pastoral care. St James’ is focused on the wellbeing of the whole school community. We are conscious of the need to promote healthy wellbeing in all areas of the human person. Mental health is of paramount importance. We recognise the flow-on effects of mental wellbeing to academic achievement and whole-of-life satisfaction. Our students are explicitly taught Positive Behaviours for Learning (PBL). Each class is engaged in the Bounce Back program, which teaches students practical strategies to help them cope with the complexity of their everyday lives and learn how to “bounce back” when they experience sadness, difficulties, frustrations and challenging times.
When students enrol at St James’ in Kindergarten, they are supported in their transition by a buddy allocated to them from the incoming Year 5 class. These buddies work throughout the last term of the pre-school year to help the new Kindergarten students learn the routines of the school and settle into the life of a student at St James’.
Each year our school participates in the fun events of Community Day. This day is essential for providing students with a sense of belonging in our wider community. Throughout Community Day, we participate in fundraising activities to assist local groups in their efforts. It is an important day that also allows students to build their own personal wellbeing.
Throughout the year, students also visit the Calvary aged-care facility. During these visits, the students meet with the residents, working with them on craft activities and sharing with them our love of singing and reading.
St James’ employs a learning support teacher and four learning support assistants. The team works to support the pastoral and academic needs of the students.
St James’ has the services of a school counsellor one day each week, provided through the Catholic Schools Office. The psychologist provides support with academic and social assessments. Recommendations are made to assist parents and teachers.