School Counsellor and Social Skills programs
At St Thomas More School we value the importance of supporting children's social and emotional needs. We have a School Counsellor, Mrs Sandy Ahearn who works 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Sandy supports children in a variety of ways, working one to one in small groups, whole classes and year level cohorts. She helps children to, develop friendship skills, resilience, positive self esteem, body images and many other skills.
Students in Reception-Year 2 require parental permission to visit Sandy whilst students in Year 3-7 are able to self refer. Sandy also plays a vital role in providing support to our families on a needs basis.
What's the Buzz?
At St Thomas More School we implement a whole school social skills program called "What's the Buzz?" written by Mark Le Messurier. 'What's the Buzz?' is a practical approach to building social and emotional connections between all kids. It is a program designed to explicitly teach children how to think and relate to others in social situations.
It targets everyday themes such as:
- Greeting, making and keeping friends
- Fitting in
- Reading one's own emotions
- Reading the feelings of others
- Dealing with competition and coping with worry, frustration and disappointment more constructively.
Circle Time is a teaching strategy which is implemented throughout the whole school to support our aim to create a positive school culture and environment. Circle Time occurs approximately once a week and is a fun and interactive time where students sit in a circle and engage in a range of activities, many of these are games. These activities are designed to mix students up and get them interacting outside of normal social groupings. Circle Time operates on three very important principles: inclusion, safety and democracy.
Relationships and cohesiveness naturally build and student behaviour improves as the class come closer into community with each other, sharing and aligning values. Curriculum and social and emotional learning can be delivered in Circle Time because of the high levels of engagement and interaction.
Students also develop skills like:
- Listening to each other
- Withholding judgement
- Taking turns to speak
Swimming in a sea of friends
This 10 week friendship program called 'Swimming in a Sea of Friends", is aimed generally at Year levels 2/3 and 4/5.
Children are introduced to 8 key friendship skills such as;
- Taking turns in conversations,
- filtering thoughts/comments,
- listening to others,
- playing fairly,
- showing concern for others,
- accepting others for who they are,
- resolving conflicts,
- being a gracious winner/loser,
- expressing feelings and needs.
These topics are explored through interactive games and activities to promote pro-social behaviour.
The purpose of the group is to empower students to create positive relationships with peers.