We place a strong emphasis on pastoral care and promoting emotional and social wellbeing for all students and staff. Social and interpersonal skills are taught to students to encourage positive interactions and assist them to maintain personal safety. Lessons are developed according to student needs and incorporate protective behaviours and ASDAN modules on Relationships as appropriate. Individual, class and whole school rewards connected to PBS, Unity Days, and a breakfast and lunch program provide support to students.
Pastoral care is further enhanced with support from both the National Chaplaincy Program and YouthCare which fund a school chaplain. Our chaplain supports our students in many ways, building positive relationships with our community and facilitating resilience and emotional skills programs. Relationship building with students is further enhanced through the chaplain’s participation in the Bush Ranger program.
Additional school psychologist time enables more support to students. Our psychologist provides both individual counselling to students at risk as well as support for staff and parents in developing risk management plans and in accessing external agencies for additional support. With assistance from the school psychologist staff develop their understanding of an approach called Zones of Regulation.
The Zones is a systematic, cognitive behaviour approach used to teach self-regulation by categorizing all the different ways we feel and states of alertness we experience into four concrete zones. The Zones curriculum provides strategies to teach students to become more aware of, and independent in controlling their emotions and impulses, managing their sensory needs, and improving their ability to problem solve conflicts.
By addressing underlying deficits in emotional and sensory regulation, executive functions, and social cognition, the curriculum is designed to help move students toward independent regulation. The Zones of Regulation incorporates social thinking concepts and numerous visuals to teach students to identify their feelings/level of alertness, understand how their behaviour impacts those around them, and learn what tools they can use to manage their feelings and states.
Mindfulness is another approach used to support self-regulation. Staff have attended professional learning designed to understand the principles of Mindfulness and develop strategies for introducing these to students. A trainer has also worked with students, leading them through a range of breathing and stretching exercises and discussions aimed at increasing the range of tools they have to self regulate. Students made some amazing mind jars and enjoyed using bubbles to monitor their breathing patterns. Identifying their sensory preferences will be the next step for students.