Somerset Times

The Importance of Educating the Whole Child




Somerset Times Edition

Week 6,
Term Two, 2016

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At the College, where we advocate the importance of educating the whole child, we cannot shy away from helping our students understand many of the complex issues that exist in society.

Providing students the opportunity to develop skills to equip themselves in dealing with challenges as well as nurturing their compassion and empathy to reach out and support others in need is certainly a vital part of our work.

To this end, on Wednesday the Salvation Army launched a new programme at the College to help teach our Year 8 and 9 students critical life skills. The presentation, delivered by The Salvation Army Still Waters Manager, Mona Nielsen, aimed to build awareness and provide education on complex social issues to young people, with the goal to help them make informed choices on their journey to adulthood.

The session engaged students in discussion, encouraging them to identify and understand the causes of major social issues including homelessness and domestic and family violence. Students heard how numerous complex social issues can start in adolescence, and how many do not seek assistance early or recognise the need to seek assistance. Often by the time those suffering reach crisis point they end up in rehabilitation and immediate temporary supported accommodation centres such as Still Waters on the Gold Coast. One key aspect of the programme is to encourage young people to seek assistance earlier and avoid reaching 'crisis point’.

Students unpacked "Who are the Homeless?" and discussed contributions to homelessness in our society. They also had the opportunity to examine the issue in relation to domestic and family violence. Students engaged in discussions on who can help and what such help would look like. They also learned about the role of organisations such as Still Waters. Importantly interwoven throughout the session was the underlying theme of respectful relationships. Years 8 and 9 students embraced the challenge and issues they were presented, displaying both maturity and empathy.

While the goal was to develop understanding and skills, from this session our students were also inspired to take action. The students spent time designing a range of ‘care packs’ with items that could be donated to support those who find themselves, through different circumstances, in temporary accommodation. As a group they understand how they can support a genuine need within their community and how together a shared common good can be achieved. A donation box for items to be donated to Still Waters to support woman and children who are seeking refuge, will be located outside the Student Services Hub until the end of Week 9.

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