Building the Social and Emotional Well Being of the Student – Programs

Pastoral Care

We believe Pastoral Care is inclusive of the school community members. Students, staff, parents and parish work in partnership for the care and nurturing of all.

Pastoral Care is love in action, integral to building community, enabling an atmosphere of care to permeate the culture of the school, underpinning the school’s policy and curriculum statements, procedures and organisational structures, bringing the School Vision to life.

We aim to provide an environment that nurtures and cares for all individuals by:

  • Providing open communication and support to all school members so as to assess and cater for their needs.
  • Developing children’s social skills and general behaviour by using a consistent approach, emphasising positive attitudes.
  • Empowering and encouraging children to do their best and acknowledging their achievements.
  • Instilling in children a sense of self and God to enable them to become respectful and caring people.
  • Developing a culture and climate that prevents workplace harassment and bullying of both students and staff.  
  • A safe working environment be established where staff to staff and child/parent concerns can be addressed.
  • Implementing classroom programs to develop strategies in Conflict Resolution, Assertive Training and Child Protection to raise awareness of individual rights and coping strategies.

Student Wellbeing Officer – Counsellor

The role of the Student Wellbeing Officer is to support identified students in maintaining and developing positive, successful social and emotional capabilities. Students engaged in this aspect of our wellbeing program are referred and supported through a consultation process between the class teacher, principal and wellbeing officer. The primary strategy used in achieving this is specific, shared goal setting between the student and wellbeing officer. Explicit steps to work toward achieving the goals are set and monitored weekly.  

‘You Can Do It’ Program

Program Achieve, ‘You Can Do It’: The main purpose of this program is to support communities, schools and homes in a collective effort to optimise the social, emotional, and academic outcomes for all young people.

Its unique contribution is in identifying the social and emotional capabilities that all young people need to acquire in order to be successful in school, experience wellbeing, and have positive relationships including making contributions to others and the community (good citizenship).

YCDI’s mission is to realise, through the following beliefs and actions:

  • the building of social, emotional, and motivational capacity of young people rather than on their problems and deficits.
  • the encouragement of prevention, promotion, and intervention efforts (school, home and community) in order to build the social and emotional strengths of young people.
  • the development of a strength-building approach, where YCDI seeks to build the capabilities of adults (community, school, home) associated with positive outcomes in young people.

The 5 Keys of YCDI! Education

Our core purpose is the development of young people’s social and emotional capabilities, including:


Confidence (academic, social)



Getting Along


Central to the development of these 5 Key Foundations is instilling in young people 12 Habits    of the Mind, including:

  1. Accepting Myself
  2. Taking Risks
  3. Being Independent
  4. I Can Do It
  5. Giving Effort
  6. Working Tough
  7. Setting Goals
  8. Planning My Time
  9. Being Tolerant of Others
  10. Thinking First
  11. Playing by the Rules, and
  12. Social Responsibility

This last point includes the values of Caring, Doing Your Best, Freedom, Honesty, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Understanding, Tolerance, and Inclusion. 

Included in our core purpose is the elimination of social and emotional difficulties and disabilities (“Blockers”) that constitute barriers to young people’s learning and well-being, including:

  1. Feeling Very Worried
  2. Feeling Very Down
  3. Procrastination
  4. Not Paying Attention or Disturbing Others, and
  5. Feeling Very Angry or Misbehaving.

 YCDI is deliberate in restructuring negative Habits of the Mind that give rise to these Blockers and in the explicit teaching of alternative positive Habits of the Mind.

This approach includes positive, caring relationships with young people.

However, it is clear that in order to change the developmental trajectory of young people with poor mental health (emotional, social and behavioural challenges) and learning outcomes and to accelerate their social and emotional development, it is vital that schools, homes and communities be transformed so that the responsibility for supporting and educating, including quality social and emotional learning experiences and caring relationships, is shared throughout the community.

This program is aimed at improving social-emotional well being and achievement outcomes.  It is currently run in Years 1-6. Kindergarten is exposed to the basic concepts of the program.  The foundations for achievement are identified as:

  • Confidence:   (Self-Acceptance, Risk Taking, Independence and Optimism)
  • Organisation:  (Goal Setting and Time Management)
  • Getting Along: (Tolerance of Others, Tolerance of Limits and Reflective Problem Solving)
  • Persistence:   (Optimism, Effort =Results, High Frustration Tolerance)
  • Emotional Resilience

The children do lessons on these foundations over the four terms throughout the year.

Positive Behaviour Support (PBS)

School ‘rules’ and expectations have been developed as a matrix of expected acceptable, positive behaviours. Through PBS students are supported in the school’s expectations through the explicit teaching of the expected behaviours in class and at assembly. We have a ‘compass character’ as our mascot of positive behaviours, the compass represents our ‘moral compass’ as we display and work toward increasing respect of self, others, learning and the environment.

As a PBS school we display greater awareness and articulation of expected behaviours, enhanced by a whole school approach from staff using common agreed expectations, language and procedures.

Building Bridges with LAP (Learning Assistance Program)

LAP is a mentoring program that ‘buddies’ a student with an adult mentor to spend sessions with at school to improve student well being. The success of the program is based on five principles.  These are that LAP:

  • is always one-to-one
  • is about relationships
  • builds confidence and self-esteem
  • takes a creative approach to learning
  • promotes parent and community participation in schools

These are often students who would benefit from individual time with an adult.  They may be shy, disruptive, or just need someone to listen to them and show that they care.  Others may have a particular interest or talent that needs encouragement or support. Volunteers are always needed. You might volunteer for LAP because:

  • you have a genuine concern for others
  • you have spare time
  • you would enjoy working directly with students
  • you have a particular interest or talent to share
  • you enjoy meeting people

LAP is co-ordinated by a staff member.  If you are interested in becoming a LAP volunteer contact the Office.

Seasons for Growth

Seasons for Growth is a loss and grief peer support program.  The aim of the program is to support children to understand and manage the grief that is experienced because of the loss of a parent or significant other through death, separation or divorce.  A simplistic over-view of the program is as follows:

  • assist in normalising the emotions associated with change and loss
  • encourage the expression of thoughts and emotions
  • educate about the grief process
  • develop a peer support network
  • help restore self confidence and self esteem

The primary school program consists of three levels

Level 1 (6-8 years) Level 2 (9-10 years) Level 3 (11-12 years)

Each level consists of eight sessions.  Usually four sessions are completed prior to term break and four after the break.  This is followed by a celebration sessions and two re-connecter sessions at later dates.  This program would normally occur during school hours.

Trained companions (usually parents) implement this program and it is co-ordinated by a staff member.

Student Representative Council

A Student Representative Council is formed each year to encourage and develop responsibility and leadership. The council consists of one class representative from each primary class (years 3-6), under the leadership of the two school captains.  The student council is guided by the wellbeing coordinator and members of staff. Meetings are held regularly. The SRC prepare and run our school assemblies. Areas of concern will include care of school children, safety in the playground, school rules, fundraising ideas, assistance, sports, the Christian character of the school and school assemblies.

Student Leadership – Responsibility

Students in year 5 experience 3-4 leadership days throughout the year to build understanding and skills of leadership in the ‘service’ model. It is during these days that students are asked to examine themselves and their opportunity to nominate for a school leadership position (School Captains and Sport Captains) for the following year.

During the latter stages of term four year 5 students commit themselves to leadership and self nominate for a leadership position. Students are required to make a speech to the school to present themselves as a candidate for a leadership role. Students from years 3-5 and staff then vote to determine the captains for the next school year.

Mini Vinnies – Social Justice

This group is a junior school version of St Vincent de Paul for student membership. We have a very healthy Mini Vinnies team at St Joseph’s, while the group is coordinated by our Mission and Values Facilitator, the students have their own president and committee and set direction and activities themselves. This group is specifically designed to instil a strong sense of social justice, responsibility and service to those less fortunate than ourselves.  

K-6 Buddies – Peer Mentoring

St Joseph’s runs a K-6 Buddy program for the entire year. Students in year 6 are nominated a kinder buddy to support through their transition to big school and spend activity time with. This is a fantastic program that builds strong bonds throughout the student community. Kinder buddies are welcomed by their year 6 buddy on the first day of school and the relationship is fostered and develops positively from there throughout the year.

Vege Garden Group & Waste Warriors – Stewardship, Sustainability

Students are invited during specified lunch times throughout the week to spend time caring for the school vege garden. The Mission and Values Facilitator co ordinates this program to develop a sense of stewardship of creation as well as developing valuable life skills. Students prepare the soil, sow the seeds, nurture the growth and harvest the fruits (or vege)!

The students also compost the scraps from our ‘crunch and sip’ fresh fruit break in the mornings to enrich their garden soil and learn to manage waste sustainably within our environment.

Waste Warriors are our students who take on the war against waste! They monitor the waste within the school, having such recent successes as banning glad wrap, clip lock bags and encouraging the use of reusable containers and beeswax wraps.

Transition Programs

Junior Joey’s Kindergarten Orientation

All incoming kindergarten students are offered the opportunity to attend our Junior Joey’s Transition program which runs for 8 consecutive Fridays throughout term 4. We offer this transition program of orientation days through October, November and December to allow new kinder’s to experience the big school environment, meet their teacher and interact with the school community. This transition program is extremely important for the successful transition of students into kindergarten. While it familiarises them with their new learning environment it also allows the staff to prepare for the learning needs of students before the formal kindergarten year begins.

At the beginning of the school year, prior to formal classes beginning, new kindergarten students are required to undertake the Best Start (Literacy & Numeracy) assessment with the kindergarten teacher to examine exactly what each student already knows as they begin school. The timetable schedule is formulated during the kinder orientation days.