‘St Catherine’s guides its girls on path to the future with emotional intelligence’

The Sunday Age Scholarship Guide January 18 2018, page 6:

The school provides signposts for living and learning at every year level, writes Erin Munro.

At independent girls’ school St Catherine’s, student well-being shares centre stage with the academic curriculum.

In 2016, the school implemented Aristotle EI, a suite of programs developed by Swinburne University of Technology’s Emotional Intelligence Research Unit. The programs help students enhance their emotional intelligence (EI), in turn improving personal resilience, as well as academic, sporting and leadership performance.

By partnering with the university’s researchers, St Catherine’s School was also able to enhance their own well-being program, weThrive:Wellbeing@St Catherine’s, established in 2015.

“Providing students with the skills to recognise, understand and manage their emotions is a key focus at St Catherine’s,” says principal Michelle Carroll.

Equipping girls with the skills and resilience to succeed in the workplace of the future.

“Through an integrated program, students develop their EI and resilience through topics such as realistic and mindful thinking, emotion recognition and regulation, positive relationships, digital citizenship, optimism, gratitude and leadership.”

At every year level, weThrive guides students through age-appropriate themes, beginning with weExplore for Early Learning Centre students through to Year 2s, and culminating with weLead in Year 12. Students who board at St Catherine’s also have their own area of study, weShare.

Annabelle Motteram, St Catherine’s Year 12 co-captain, says she’s found the program beneficial. A particular highlight took place in Year 9, when she and fellow students travelled to Fiji on a community service trip for the weEngage unit of study.

“We learnt that to maintain well-being, we must invest in personal relationships with peers and our community,” she says. Now in her final year of school, Annabelle says weThrive has given her and her fellow peers important skills that will help them cope with the demands of VCE.

“Well-being activities remind girls every day that they are unique, resilient and strong,” she adds.

Director of student well-being, Merran O’Connor stresses the importance of emotional intelligence and resilience for today’s students, who will be entering workplaces and careers that differ in many ways from those of their parents.

“Apart from assisting students to establish positive peer relationships, it can equip young people with the 21st century skills to succeed in the workplace,” she says.

As a smaller school, St Catherine’s School also provides a close-knit learning environment. A network of past students and parents provide mentoring and career guidance for girls currently attending. Small year levels and class sizes allow for learning to be tailored to each student’s needs.

“At St Catherine’s we have magnificent teachers who are great activators of change for girls,” says Mrs Carroll.

“They enhance our students’ learning immensely.”

St Catherine’s senior school curriculum includes both collaborative and individual learning. There’s an extensive range of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects, and a Year 9 and 10 elective called the Augmented and Virtual Reality World is the first of its kind in the country.

Underpinning all of the school’s education programs are several core values. “The fixed anchor point of our school are the strong values we embed within a St Catherine’s education: empathy, curiosity, perseverance and integrity,” Mrs Carroll explains.

St Catherine’s School offers a wide range of scholarships. Students entering Years 5 to 11 can apply for a general excellence scholarship, for girls who demonstrate strong ability in areas such as drama, sport and music as well as academics.

Additionally, Years 5 to 9 can apply for a music scholarship, and Years 7 to 11 for a boarding scholarship.

Applications for St Catherine’s Scholarships in 2019 are now open and close on Friday, February 9.

Erin Munro

Sunday Age

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