Glenn Gerreyn’s inspiring messages to the Year 12 girls at the Trinity College Residential Conference in January this year were a powerful reminder of the importance of approaching the year with personal resilience and purpose, and to look to their future with optimism. Glenn, the founder of ‘The Hopefull Institute’, encouraged them to ‘explore, dream and discover’; to create a ‘vision board’ to remind themselves of their potential, talents and aspirations. Glenn’s words are a salient reminder of the life-long learning they will embark on, but also of the journey they have undergone thus far which has shaped their resilience and aspirations.

Nurturing self and social awareness, in tandem with cognitive learning, is integral to St Catherine’s student journey from ELC to Year 12. The weThrive: Wellbeing @St Catherine’s Program sequentially maps the physical, social, emotional and cognitive developmental stages to best equip girls to flourish and thrive, even in the face of the inevitable challenges of adolescence and increasing academic rigour. At the recent Parent Information sessions, classroom teachers and Heads of Year focused on the particular stage of the journey with an emphasis on ‘What to expect’, ‘What we can do’ and ‘What you can do.’ No matter where your daughter is on that journey, the Wellbeing Program imparts skills and strategies to take her to the next stage with confidence.

The Wellbeing Program not only draws on the expertise of experienced staff but our affiliation with accredited organisations such as the Alannah and Madeline eSmart program, and our partnership with the Swinburne University Emotional Intelligence Unit, provide the most up to date research and resources. The evidence-based Swinburne University ‘Aristotle’ Program guides students to identify and regulate their emotions, fostering more positive and respectful relationships. St Catherine’s also takes part in the Resilient Youth Australia annual survey, using data to apply a targeted approach to such topics as positive values, cyber safety and digital citizenship. The eSmart Program guides students to be smart, safe and responsible online. Through a variety of programs and presenters, St Catherine’s students are encouraged to develop empathy for others, establish and build self-worth and respectful relationships, make responsible decisions, work effectively in teams and develop leadership skills.

Academic Advisory

In recognition of the integral connection between the cognitive and social emotional journey, the Pastoral Program in the Senior School had been altered to include a twenty minute Academic Advisory session with the House Tutor. In addition to the weekly Wellbeing sessions and Level or House Assemblies, this session provides students with the opportunity to learn more about the learning process, the neuroplasticity of the brain, the importance of a growth mindset and how to adopt efficient problem solving and study strategies. Students will utilise their ePortfolio to set goals, track their learning progress, reflect on feedback and take part in readings and discussions. These conversations will also be supported by data provided by the Dean of Academics, Ms Kirsten Wiley, who monitors individual student data as they progress through the upper year levels in the Senior School. House Tutors are already commenting on the value of this dedicated time to get to know the girls personally and as learners.

The School-Parent Partnership remains integral to your daughter’s journey, irrespective of whether she is embarking on, or completing her St Catherine’s journey. We invite you to continue discussions at home regarding learning as a journey, where set-backs, mistakes and failures will occur as part of that process, with each one building stronger cognitive pathways and greater personal resilience.

The Semester 1 Wellbeing Calendar has a full program of activities, workshops, events, presentations and incursions from Years 7 to 12. I have selected a few from each year level as a snapshot:

Year 7 
Term 1 Transitions: Emotional Intelligence Program
February 24 Beyond Boundaries Information session
March 10 Brainstorm Productions ‘Cyberia’ Cyber Safety performance
March 23 Letter to My Year 12 Self
Year 8
Term 1 Emotional Intelligence Development Program
February 28 Project Rockit- ‘Level Up’: Leadership at school, online and in our community
February 24 Team Building
March 10 Brainstorm Productions ‘Cyberia’ Cyber Safety performance
Year 9   
February 24 Authentic Gratitude
March  16 Year 9 ‘Empowered Together’ workshop
March  16 Leadership Diploma and Duke of Edinburgh Award Launch
Year 10
Term 1 Emotional Intelligence Resilience Program
February 24 Operation Angel Bushfire Relief Assembly launch
First Winter’ Bushfire Relief blanket knitting
February 24-28 FareShare Kitchen Volunteering
March 2 International Women’s Day presentation
Year 11
Term 1 House Arts Leadership teams
February 18 VCE Success Strategies ‘Success Integrated’
March 2 Relaxation and Meditation – Yogamigos
May 4 Respectful Relationships and Consent- Moores Legal
Year 12
February 24 VCE Success Strategies ‘Success Integrated’
March 2 Clarity of Vision: Common Room Vision Board
March 23 Old Girl Guest Speaker – Jessica Martin (’13)

On May 27, all Senior School students will attend Susan McLean’s Cybersafety Presentations.

Parent Sessions:

Monday March 2 2020

Years 5-8 Parent Coffee Morning. 8.30am to 10.00am, Selina Yao Auditorium

Keeping Kids Safe on i-Devices

Back by popular demand, Lynette Coulston will run another of her practical and informative workshops. Her presentations and workshops provide instructions to assist parents to limit screen time and set up appropriate limits on website access and other privacy settings. Attendees at her sessions are given links to Lynette’s ITandCoffee site and a range of resources. She also discusses a range of apps that parents should be wary of unless carefully supervised.

RSVP details will be provided to Years 5 to 8 parents.

We will continue to run Lynette’s workshops for different age-groups throughout the year.

The following articles may be of interest if you have missed them in prior communications:

Wednesday May 27 2020, 7.00pm

Semester 1 Girls Talk Seminar – Guest Presenter Susan McLean ‘Cyber Safety Solutions’

(Please note the change of date from the previously advertised calendar date of April 20)

Susan’s website includes many useful fact sheets and information.

Ms Merran O’Connor, Deputy Principal – Wellbeing