The Pastoral program in Term 4 has included sessions that have been spent as a House community electing 2020 House Captains, as well as investigating a broad range of topics such as developing our students’ emotional literacy. The metaphor of an iceberg was used to help students understand the concepts of surface and deeper emotions. Being able to identify and correctly interpret the emotions a person displays is an important part of developing the skill of empathy. Activities that develop emotional literacy enable our students to reflect critically on their emotional responses to a variety of situations and in a range of contexts, help them to moderate their emotional responses when expressing opinions, values and choices and can help explain how relationships differ between people from varied walks of life.
Students also completed a session that was inspired by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si, in which they were encouraged to examine their behaviours and actions towards our common home. Students were asked to reflect on how they are contributing to or reacting to the current environmental crisis we face. This was particularly poignant given the recent bushfires along the east coast.
The Pastoral program provides an important platform for wellbeing education to our students, enriching their lived experience at Siena College. Hannah Walsh, Year 12, reflects on how the Pastoral program has contributed to her completion of Year 12:
'Throughout this year, there have been numerous opportunities to participate in a range of activities during pastoral. These have assisted in exposing us, as students, to issues in the wider community and the world. For example, the gratitude session enabled us to see how fortunate we are for the gift of a Siena education and gave us a chance to discuss why we are all appreciative of this privilege.
This was also demonstrated in the International Women’s Day activity in which we discussed issues that women in other countries face. This gave us an opportunity to learn outside of a formal class and gain a greater understanding of the world around us. It also enabled me to understand issues that individuals face within the wider community and remind me of how fortunate I am.
Pastoral activities also enabled us to better get to know our peers in our homeroom. This has allowed me to build strong connections with girls from different year levels. The Harmony Day activity allowed us to understand the cultural backgrounds of girls in other years, as well as their families. Taking part in House assemblies in Pastoral has assisted in building house spirit. This has helped to develop a smaller communities within Siena, that support every individual throughout the school year.
As a Year 12 student, the pastoral period program has helped me to balance my studies through the SMART goal setting activity, which gave me an opportunity to set goals both inside and outside of academic success as well as hearing from other Year 12s about what their goals are, and how they are working to achieve them. This was a good reminder that there is more to Year 12 than academic success, and that we are not defined by an ATAR.'