‘St Catherine’s School’ The Weekly Times Education Feature

Article published in The Weekly Times Education Feature 2016 page 32:

EMOTIONS are high on the learning agenda at St Catherine’s School in Melbourne. Providing students with skills to recognise, understand and manage their emotions is a focus at the school in the suburb of Toorak.

The weThrive:Wellbeing@StCatherine’s program is a whole-school approach to the personal, social and emotional needs of every student from the Early Learning Centre to Year 12.

St Catherine’s director of student wellbeing Merran O’Connor said the program is geared to help students in their day-to-day lives and their future careers.

“The need for improved emotional intelligence is particularly important in the school setting as, apart from assisting students to establish positive peer relationships, it can equip young people with skills to succeed in the workplace,” Ms O’Connor said.

Through an integrated program, students develop emotional intelligence through topics such as mindful thinking, emotion recognition and digital citizenship.

This year, St Catherine’s School has partnered with the Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence Resource Unit to enhance the wellbeing program. The Swinburne unit has been administering the Aristotle Emotional Intelligence Program for more than 10 years, and has worked with schools in Australia and overseas.

Research from Swinburne shows adolescents with higher emotional intelligence experience higher academic performance, greater wellbeing and resilience.

“The importance of teaching and modelling EI in schools is becoming more widely accepted as research continues to affirm its benefits,” Ms O’Connor said.

“More importantly though, is the potential for emotional intelligence to improve the personal wellbeing and relationships of our students.”

The school’s boarding house, Illawarra, has its own wellbeing theme “weShare” as part of the weThrive:Wellbeing@St Catherine’s program.

St Catherine’s director of boarding Sue Collister said the program enriches all the boarders’ experiences in the house.

“The boarding theme ‘weShare’ is wholeheartedly embraced by all our boarders who proudly share their home, their stories and their world,” Mrs Collister said. “Boarders are also encouraged to take part in mindfulness practise as part of our Mindful Mondays initiative and prior to examination periods.”

St Catherine’s School offers day and boarding education for girls from Early Learning to Year 12, with room for up to 50 students to board.


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