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29 May 2020

Year 12 mentors young at heart

As part of the Year 12 Wellbeing Program, students have had the opportunity to…

As part of the Year 12 Wellbeing Program, students have had the opportunity to volunteer as mentors for junior students from our Early Learning Centre, Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes. Today was the beginning of this project, and students were able to get back to basics and assist with activities including reading, sandpit construction work, educational board games, Literacy lessons and art.

Mrs Karen McEntee, Blackfriars ELC Director, said anticipation had been building among ELC students all week for their visit from “the big boys” from school.

‘One of the great benefits of being on an ELC-12 campus is that we have these opportunities for integration, and to learn from each other,’ she said.

‘Beyond the initial novelty of having the older kids around, it helps our students build vital interpersonal skills, as well as preparing them for their eventual transition to school.’

Mr Brett Knowles, Assistant Principal (Wellbeing) agreed, recognising that the huge value these interactions can have for junior and senior students alike.

‘For our senior boys, Term 2 can be a stressful time,’ said Mr Knowles.

‘Having this opportunity to be fully engrossed in more hands-on activities, have some fun, forget about all the assignments and just play, can really provide some much-needed respite for the boys – not to mention the self-esteem boost they can get from seeing the younger children looking up to them and enjoying their company.’

This sentiment was echoed by the Year 12 students themselves, all of whom are already looking forward to returning to their buddies in the coming weeks.

As a voluntary project, the Year 12s’ motivations for taking part varied. For some, it was valuable experience as they look ahead towards studying Primary teaching at university next year. For others, it was simply an opportunity to get in touch with their own inner child.

‘Being in the library, having Ms McEvoy read us all a story and talking about it with the Receptions, really took me back to my own Primary years,’ said Adriano.

‘Sometimes you just forget how to be a kid, but I’ve got younger siblings so I’m used to this kind of stuff! We’re learning just as much from them as they are from us I reckon,’ said Hasibullah.

This initiative is part of the school’s Year 12 Wellbeing Program, which encompasses a wide range of activities aimed at supporting students’ holistic wellbeing through their final year of schooling. As well as including plenty of individual projects, community service and giving back to others is a key element of this program.

This week’s group of Year 12 mentors will return to their buddies next week, and hopefully for a few more sessions after that also. Then in Term 3 another group of students will get the chance to become mentors.