St. John’s has always been known for its excellence in providing students individual attention and guidance to reach their personal potential. The school is in the process of further expanding those services after an audit that showed the potential of additional activities to support students to provide the best possible environment for students to thrive in.
After reviewing best practice around the world, we decided to audit our current pastoral programs against the five areas suggested by R. Best (“Best R. Pastoral care and personal social education 2002″ [cited 2005 1 Dec]). Pro-active preventative care was the focus of this year’s program in Middle and High School and will be continued and introduced into Elementary school next year. Moving forward we aim to develop through school pastoral curricula and further the promotion and maintenance of the orderly and supportive environment whilst continuing to enhance our reactive pastoral casework. To ensure the success of this program, the administration decided to create new assistant principal roles with special responsibility for student life.
The student life program at St. John’s includes the following (as per the five areas suggested by R. Best):
- Reactive pastoral casework: undertaken on a one-to-one basis in response to children’s problems of a “social, emotional, physical, behavioural or spiritual nature.”
- Proactive, preventative pastoral care: which include forms of activities and educational processes that anticipate ‘critical incidents’ in children’s lives and are aimed at preventing and reducing the need for reactive casework.
- Developmental pastoral curricula: that is developed to promote the personal, social, moral, spiritual and cultural development and well-being of children through distinctive programmes, tutorial work and extra-curricular activities.
- The promotion and maintenance of an orderly and supportive environment: refers to building a community within the school, through extra-curricular activities, the creation of supportive systems and positive relations between all members, and the promotion of a strong ethos of mutual care and concern.
- The management and administration of pastoral care: involves the processes of “planning, motivating, resourcing, monitoring, evaluating, encouraging and otherwise facilitating all of the above” .
These elements combine to ensure the well-being of each student in our care throughout the school. This extensive program sets us apart from most schools and we firmly believe now, more than ever, this individual approach is required to serve each one of our students’ unique needs.