This term the pastoral and student leaders of St Luke’s College placed a specific focus on student and staff wellbeing.
Issues relating to mental health are on the rise and as the stress and demands on teenagers are forever increasing, it is important that we take the time to instil in students the tools and strategies to look after their own emotional wellbeing.
The breaking down of stigma and misconceptions about mental illness must start in schools. School is where resilience is found, friendships begin, and skills are learnt. It is where teens hone their sense of self-worth and seek a place to belong. It is also the place where children need to learn that their behaviour towards others can cause serious self-worth issues and must learn to treat others how they wish to be treated themselves. Dealing with friendship issues and struggling to cope with the stresses of test and exams, while being focussed on finding a specific career path can also add to their anxiety levels.
Children face many challenges in the school environment. Some are better at managing these than others, but all are supported with the safety net of the College’s pastoral care system.
At St Luke’s College we seek to develop the whole person and believe that cultivating wellbeing improves student learning and academic performance. Happy children are motivated to learn and have an increased appetite to work.
This term the College has implemented an array of initiatives to best support our students. Mrs Kinch has facilitated a Year 9 Girl Support Group at lunchtime where students discuss personal struggles with their peers and identify ways to deal with issues. The Year 10 Pastoral Day involved the students working in Male and Female Workshops that covered topics regarding positive body image, mental health, social media, bullying, healthy communication, leadership and supporting each other. The student executive has organised Mindful Mondays where students from all ages gather for meditation and aroma therapy. Mrs Tittums has organised Girls Boxing every Thursday lunchtime where girls have a safe place to exercise and release any stress and frustration.
On top of all these great initiatives the school is implementing a Wellness Month Daily Program. All classes have been reduced to 50 minutes during weeks 6, 7, 8 and Monday of week 9 so that students can have 35 minutes extended PCG in the morning. During this extended PCG students will rotate around a number of Wellbeing activities including Yoga, Aroma Therapy, Meditation, Sound Therapy, Boxing, Essential Oils, Puppy Therapy, Theatre Sports, Art Therapy, Dodge Ball as well as listening to presentations from guest speakers from Mission Australia, SAFE, Head Space, Internet protection, CAMHS and Youth Pilbara Mental Health and Drug Service.
This timeslot will also provide our Year 12 ATAR students with the opportunity to have extra Exam Prep. These students will rotate through their ATAR courses for extra tutoring sessions to help relieve their stress leading up to their exams.
Restructuring the timetable for this length of period is quite radical, but it is hoped that the benefit the students will receive will have a lasting impact. Studies have shown a positive relationship between emotional and psychological wellbeing and academic achievement. In general students with higher levels of psychological and emotional wellbeing also show higher levels of academic performance.
Mr Adrian Correia