Pastoral care in Early Years is interwoven with teaching and learning and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between the two. Children need to feel safe and secure in their environment before learning can take place so building positive relationships between students and teachers is an absolute priority.
Each week there is an allocated pastoral care lesson which focuses on skills such as self-management, motivation, getting on and falling out, listening and empathy. It is a program designed to develop and teach emotional intelligence. We also teach a protective behaviours program which focuses on giving children the tools they need to keep them safe.
Much of the teaching and learning that takes place through our program is kinaesthetic or visual. Children are encouraged to take responsibility for their learning and to inquire together to ensure that they reach a deeper and more meaningful understanding of the complex issues involved in developing social, emotional intelligence and in regulating their behaviour. The program encourages them to learn through participating in a variety of groups and encourages them to problem solve together.
In addition to this we run a buddy program. This involves children of different age groups buddying up. Throughout the year we ensure there are opportunities for the ‘buddies’ to get together to do activities or share lunch. In this way, younger and older Primary School students become familiar and this then promotes respect and tolerance between the year groups.