Co-curricular Programs – where our girls thrive

Co-curricular programs at St Catherine’s School provide opportunities and experiences to enhance the development of the whole child, complementing skills learned in the classroom and nurturing lifelong learners.

Each opportunity and program present a different environment for our girls to thrive, by empowering and nurturing independent globally responsive students who approach all endeavours with empathy, integrity, commitment and determination.

With an increasing emphasis on Soft Skills in University placements and the workforce, there is a requirement for young people to expand their skills and experiences beyond the classroom.

“The large scale social, economic, environmental and technological changes that have taken place across the Globe, are elevating softs skills as essential learning in school”, (Griffin et al, 2012, Bruett, 2006; Autor et al, 2003, Trilling and Fadel, 2012, Voogt and Roblin, 2012).

Opportunities for our girls to develop resilience, empathy and curiosity by challenging themselves to step outside their comfort zone in a supportive and safe environment, opens the gateway to learn through goal setting, success and failure.

The OECD states,

Students will need to apply their knowledge in unknown and evolving circumstances. For this, they will need a broad range of skills, including cognitive and meta cognitive skills (eg Critical thinking, learning to learn and self regulation): social and emotional skills (eg empathy, self-efficacy and collaboration): and practical and physical skills (eg using new information and communication technology devices.

With an increased focus from the tertiary section, on students’ skills and achievements achieved through the Co-curricular programs and activities at St Catherine’s School, promoting the ongoing engagement of our girls, and facilitating their learning outside the classroom, is essential.

Soft Skills are defined by Slade and Lambert, 2019, as: “fluid and malleable, adjustable, suited to multiple situations and circumstances. They adapt, change and grow. They morph, are usable and fit (because they are fluid) into every arena. They are necessary for everyone…”

St Catherine’s School Co-curricular programs from the Early Learning Centre to Year 12, has prioritised the following eight Soft Skills underpinning our programs:

  • Resilience, Persistence and Responsibility
  • Cultural Learning and Global Citizenship
  • Leadership, Confidence and Responsibility

These Soft Skills are valuable in the journey our girls take as they learn through each stage of their schooling, tertiary pathways and careers.

The variety of Co-curricular choices at St Catherine’s, offers avenues for our students to pursue their interests, talents and passions, whilst finding their place in our community. The journey through these programs supports students with the learning experience through persistence, practice and failure.

Learning feedback loop

The ongoing learning, reflection and development of their skills in a variety of experiential programs through the School’s Co-curricular program provides the development of Soft Skills. In learning skills and developing knowledge, gaining feedback is an important component of this process. Feedback is what tells you what went wrong, or what went right, and obtaining feedback can be as simple as gaining information about how well you are performing each time you practice or apply a skill.

Skills Feedback Loop comprises six stages:

  • Acquire – The acquisition of new skills allows for growth and practice.
  • Feedback – Gaining feedback from a coach or teacher to understand what you have done well and how you can improve on the skill being learned.
  • Reflect – Reflection provides the opportunity to reflect on what you have done well and what you still need to do to achieve success.
  • Feedback
  • Improve – Continue to practise the skill to continue the learning process.
  • Feedback

It is important to recognise these phases of learning when building skills and knowledge in one area and building on the skills and knowledge learned through a variety of contexts.

This feedback loop is evident in the Co-curricular programs that have occurred throughout the holidays and the start of Term 1. In January, our Rowing Program spent time training on the Yarra and Nagambie Lakes in preparation for the Racing season. Our rowers have condensed six months of rowing training and skills’ learning into a shorter timeframe from November until now. During this time, each rower has received feedback on technical skills that has assisted their performance and boat movement. Many of our Junior School Swimmers enrolled in the H20 Squad programs held over the Summer holidays, to gain more time in the pool in readiness for the SSV District trials and competition. Skill development takes time, effort and persistence, like many good things in life. We have to work hard to reach a goal and perform.

    

Preparing St Catherine’s girls for a future that allows for the instantaneous gaining of knowledge through the digital age, requires a complementary set of skills. In each of their goals, gaining feedback and knowledge from their teachers, coaches and respected others in preparation for their final goal, is a vital skill in life.

Mrs Gina Peele

Director of Student Programs

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