Pastoral Care in the Early Learning Centre (ELC) focuses on the wellbeing of the child and the family.
“We work closely with families to ensure that each child feels safe, secure and supported as they join the ELC community, and then embrace the opportunities we have each day to help our students become independent, resilient and compassionate young people,” says Director of Junior School (ELC), Kate Columbine.
As an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School, students in both Reception and Pre-Prep undertake a Unit of Inquiry each term, focussing on a different Primary Years Programme (PYP) transdisciplinary theme. Pastoral Care is interwoven throughout the units of inquiry, but particularly within the theme Who We Are – giving teachers the opportunity to get to know the children, their stories, cultural background, interests and likes, family context really well.
There is also a focus on the PYP Learner Profile, where staff talk to children about being caring, open-minded and what it means to be a communicator.
“By using these terms explicitly, and using them in everyday interactions, children begin to understand the words and quickly begin to use them in their own discourse.”
A key component of Pastoral Care for younger students is the CGGS Way – which teaches children about being safe, responsible and respectful – particularly in the context of social relationships in class groups.
This year, each class in the ELC has chosen, with student input, an animal mascot to help build a sense of belonging. Within the ELC there are now Wombats, Giraffes, Elephants, Kookaburras, Frogs, Gang Gangs, Penguins and Bears, and the children have embraced the opportunity to learn about their particular animal as a group.
Kate says, “In the early years, social and emotional wellbeing is so important – we focus strongly on this in the ELC. Every day and in every interaction we focus on this area, exploring concepts like sharing, taking turns, persevering, being resilient, being assertive, asking for help, and self-regulating emotions.”
“Separating from loved ones as a child starts the ELC is a big step. Building relationships with children and families is really important in supporting this transition.”
Staff in the ELC provide support for families at the beginning of the ELC journey as well as throughout the year.
“Ongoing communication about the program and children’s participation is provided regularly via the Seesaw app, providing snapshots of the children engaged in experiences and activities. It opens up communication between child and parent, and can give some welcome reassurance to parents after a rocky drop off!”
ELC Parent Teacher Interviews will be held at the end of Term 1 – another important touchpoint for parents and teachers alike.