The College has a responsibility to attend to the pastoral needs of its girls in order for them to flourish as individuals. This enables them to take their place in the world as well-rounded, resilient young women with a positive and grounded self-image, a clear sense of purpose and a strong connection to their community.
Our Benedictine values and commitment to the teachings of the Gospel create a moral imperative to attend to the needs of others and to participate in the building of a peaceful and just College community.
“There is one body, but it has many parts. But all its many parts make up one body. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it. If one part is honoured, every part shares in its joy…You are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12.12, 26-27)
Furthermore, longitudinal studies show that adolescents are far more likely to realise their academic potential when their mental, emotional and physical needs are met. Our staff regularly undertake professional development in current research on how best to support adolescent girls’ wellbeing.
At Stella Maris, pastoral care is focussed on
- Building resilience, authentic self-esteem, optimism and a clear vision of the future
- Supporting strong and supportive relationships between the girls and staff
- Promoting a love of learning and effective study habits
- Fostering healthy and mature relationships between the girls
- Encouraging girls to take responsibility for their actions
- Supporting girls with general issues surrounding adolescent development
- Taking a proactive stance to prevent issues arising or escalating
- Reacting appropriately to issues that do arise
- Addressing critical issues faced by the girls around their mental and emotional health, relationships and life management skills
- Providing a stable environment
- Ensuring the physical health and safety of our girls
- Modelling what it means to be a happy and contributing adult
Many formal structures support the wellbeing of our girls either directly or indirectly.
- The Deputy Principal, Heads of Year and Pastoral Care Teachers
- College Counsellors (registered psychologists)
- Student Services Office for administration and health matters
- International Student Pastoral Coordinator and Prefects
- Mission Team
- Restorative Justice program
- Stella Sisters Peer Support program
- Engagement of external agencies
- Anti-bullying education
- Information about external agencies supporting mental health and adolescents such as Beyond Blue and the Black Dog Institute.
- Camps, Retreats and Reflection days
- Leadership opportunities
- Social Justice activities
- PDHPE curriculum
- Religious Education curriculum
- Duke of Edinburgh’s Award community service
- Year and Whole School events such as sport carnivals, Stella Day, Stella Alive and Clean Up Australia Day
- Diverse extra-curricular activities
It is worth noting that all teachers are mandatory reporters and are required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to the Department of Community Services Child Protection Helpline. Support staff are required to report to the Principal or Deputy.
Pastoral Care Teachers
Every student is allocated to a Pastoral Care group that is aligned with one of our Houses. The group remains together for their six-year College journey. The group meets daily and is concerned with providing support and guidance, celebrating achievements, building lasting friendships and managing the everyday workings of the College. The Pastoral Care teacher ensures that every Stella Girl develops a sense of pride and belonging.
Our highly qualified and experienced College Counsellors work closely with the Heads of Year to actively support the wellbeing of all our girls. They are always close at hand to help them cope when life presents particularly challenging situations that they many not be able to negotiate without adult support. They are able to offer support for a range of issues including study skills, time management, peer-related issues, mood disorders and management of stress and anxiety. Girls are able to talk in a confidential setting about any issue that is concerning them. Referrals to community services are made when necessary and appointments for parent consultations are available by contacting them directly.
Contact the College Counsellor here.
Restorative justice is a cooperative process of behavioural management that focusses on the needs of the offender, the victim and the community as a whole. It encourages the girls to
- Reflect on their actions
- Take responsibility for their actions
- Learn the importance of respect for other people and property
- Understand the importance of repairing damaged relationships and how to make amends
- Make a positive contribution to the College community through their words and actions
- Set positive goals for growth and change
Our Houses are named after women who have made a major contribution to our College community or to Australian society as a whole. These women are role models from whom our girls can draw inspiration and courage to go out and make a positive difference in the world.
“No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.” (Matthew 5.15)
The Houses are an important part of building a strong sense of belonging and connection to our community. Through belonging to a House, the girls learn good citizenship, team spirit, loyalty, enthusiasm and healthy competition. They also learn the personal satisfaction that comes from contributing their skills and knowledge for the good of all, just as all the House namesakes have done in the past.
Sr Sabina Shinnick, the first Principal of Stella Maris College in 1931.
A 19th century advocate for female immigrant welfare, Caroline Chisholm spent only seven years in Australia but during that short time placed over 11,000 people in homes and jobs. Her home, the Female Immigrant Home, which gradually expanded to include families and young men, helped over 40,000 people in its 38-year lifespan.
Oodgeroo Noonuccal (formerly Kath Walker), prominent Aboriginal political activist and writer. The first Aboriginal woman to be published, Oodgeroo was committed to education at every level and collaborated with universities on teacher education programs that led to better teaching in Australian schools.
Sr Colette Egan, Principal from 1950-54 and one of our longest serving staff members. A Good Samaritan Sister who inspired thousands of students with her passion for learning and her acute intellect.
Fiona Wood AM, inventor of spray on skin for burns victims. She is listed as an Australian Living Treasure, a list of people who have made outstanding contributions to Australian society. She was declared Australian of the Year in 2005 for her contributions to medicine.
Shirley Smith AM, committed advocate for Aboriginal Australians known also as Mum Shirl. She visited prisoners, accompanied people to court, found homes for many children (raising 60 in her own home) and visited many schools. She was a committed Catholic and founding member of the Aboriginal Legal Service, Aboriginal Medical Service, Aboriginal Tent Embassy, the Aboriginal Children’s Service, and the Aboriginal Housing Company in Redfern. Her parish priest, Fr Ted Kennedy of Redfern, said she had “a capacity to comfort the afflicted but never suggested that she would not afflict the comfortable”.
St Mary of the Cross MacKillop, founder of the Sisters of St Joseph and Australia’s first saint. The Josephites were dedicated to the education of poor children. Her new school, established in Adelaide in 1866, was the first religious institution founded by an Australian. In 1992 the Vatican declared her ‘heroic virtue’. A requirement for beatification, this term is applied to highly virtuous people who do extraordinarily good works which place them well above their peers.
Marie Bashir AD, first woman Governor of NSW, former Chancellor of Sydney University. In 2014 she was made a Dame of the Order of Australia “For extraordinary and pre-eminent achievement and merit in service to the administration, public life, and people of New South Wales, to medicine, particularly as an advocate for improved mental health outcomes for the young, marginalised and disadvantaged, to international relations, through the promotion of collaborative health programs, and as a leader in tertiary education”.
Health and Safety
The physical health and safety of our girls is supported by a range of policies and strategies that cover cyber-safety, immunisations, allergy management, sun safety, management of complex medical conditions like asthma and diabetes, healthy eating, disability management, road safety, child protection and drug education, among others. We have a comfortable sick bay and a qualified nurse on staff. All staff have their Senior First Aid Certificate.