The wellbeing landscape of the Catholic school incorporates all aspects of school community life from students’ physical, intellectual, moral, social, emotional and spiritual wellbeing and development to the safe and supportive environment in which they learn.
To fulfil its mission, Catholic Education Melbourne seeks to support schools in strengthening their educational endeavour for the development of the ‘whole person’ and to contribute to ‘…the centrality of the human person in the educational project of the Catholic school’ (The Vatican's The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millenium no. 9). Therefore Catholic Education Melbourne aims to strengthen educational communities through emphasising the connections between student wellbeing, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and curriculum based learning, so that students can be supported and optimal learning outcomes achieved.
Setting Directions for a Strategic Approach to Wellbeing
Catholic Education Melbourne sees wellbeing as fundamental to successful learning. Children and young people who are happy, confident and able to establish meaningful relationships are better placed to achieve positive learning outcomes. The Catholic school environment must provide a safe and effective environment that contributes to positive learning outcomes and the wellbeing of students, staff and the broader community.
The Student Wellbeing Strategy 2011–2015 has been designed to articulate the ways in which Catholic Education Melbourne Wellbeing & Community Partnerships Unit will lead and support Catholic school communities in the Archdiocese of Melbourne in the promotion of wellbeing and school community partnerships for learning. The aim of the strategy is to promote an optimal learning environment to support student engagement and learning outcomes.
A foundation principle informing the overall strategy is to promote a safe and effective school environment which celebrates inclusion and models values which are consistent with the Gospel teachings of Jesus. In other words, ‘the Catholic school, far more than any other, must be a community whose aim is the transmission of values for living’ (The Catholic School 1977, no. 53).
The Student Wellbeing Strategy 2011–2015 provides the opportunity to develop congruence between the evidence base related to wellbeing and the emerging evidence promoting schools as key sites for the promotion of social emotional learning and emphasising the promotion of mental health. This can be achieved through a whole of school approach that provides an opportunity to develop an optimal learning environment for all students in partnership with families.
Three strategic themes underpin the strategy and act as foundational principles for this work.
The connection between the promotion of wellbeing and positive learning outcomes is clear. Research related to health and wellbeing shows that schools are important environments for the promotion of wellbeing in children and young people. Further, positive learning outcomes occur when delivered through a framework of social and emotional learning (SEL) approaches. Together they provide a sound basis for developing future healthy relationships and ultimately, achieving success in life.
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