Wellbeing is the ‘oil of learning’ (Mann 2006). Our pastoral care for our girls is not the destination but the nourishment for their learning journey. Boarding provides a platform for a pastoral care system that supports the development of our girls’ wellbeing so they can realise their potential.
A sense of belonging
Students who are deeply and authentically cared for feel they belong. A sense of belonging is fundamental to our being such as belonging to a whanau, a school, a youth group, a group of friends or a co-curricular club.
Students who feel they belong, start to believe in themselves through developing core values, self-confidence and self-worth, believing in their own future and being open to learning. Students can become who they want to be and contribute as a global citizen.
In education today, we are preparing young minds for the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, says that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres.
Playing an active part in this revolution will require students to become creative thinkers, problem solvers, collaborators and effective communicators.
In order for these skills to be established, student wellbeing must first be addressed through facilitation, support and opportunity. Wellbeing forms the solid foundation upon which to build a robust skill-set required for the 21st century. Wellbeing is the glue that holds it all together.
Our students can learn to become confident learners, independent thinkers and caring individuals. We must be mindful that today’s youth live in a complex world with many different influences and pressures. Each student can come from a different family structure, have varying backgrounds, possibly experience changeable mental wellbeing, face rapidly developing technologies, experience increased pressure from social media, and face a pace of change which is unprecedented compared with previous generations.
At Woodford House, boarding is focused on developing student wellbeing. Our team, including house supervisors, school counsellor, school nurse and boarding leaders, are continually working together towards developing a deeply caring culture. Whether we are working alongside an individual student, a small group of students or providing large group initiatives, student wellbeing is at the forefront of our delivery.
With the support of our school counsellor, Kelly Fisher and the Hawke’s Bay Primary Health Organisation we have been able to provide four fully funded ‘Building resilience’ workshops for our senior students. Building resilience in young people is an important goal, where we can strengthen capacity and promote skills that help encourage mental wellbeing. Further workshops exploring mindfulness and relaxation began last term and are facilitated by Old Girl, Bee Gunson.
Our senior students were privileged to attend a presentation by Jake Bailey, former Head Boy at Christchurch Boys’ High School, at Iona on 10 August. Jake gained worldwide support when he delivered an emotional speech at the end of year prize giving about his personal battle with an aggressive form of cancer. His inspirational speech went viral, and Jake was awarded the Massey University 2015 Quote of the Year.
Georgia Mischefski-Gray (Woodford House), Kedra Macpherson (Iona College), Jake Bailey and Hamish Woods (Lindisfarne College)
Our girls joined students from Iona and Lindisfarne to hear Jake share his cancer story as part of his own resilience background and understanding. They were 100% engaged listening to him as he is a gifted presenter and as an 18 year old he connected with the audience as he openly shared his cancer journey and experiences. His advice was relevant, honest, wise and motivating. Read more here
Wellbeing is firmly at the centre of student learning at Woodford House. We are in a privileged position to support and facilitate every girl’s journey to attain their personal best and contribute meaningfully to society.
Mrs Ange Rathbone, Director of Boarding