The Australian Government announced a “National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program’ with the idea of assisting schools and their communities to provide greater pastoral care, advice and comfort to all students and staff.
Government and non-government schools and their communities appied for up to $20,000 per annum, to establish a school chaplaincy/student welfare service or to enhance existing chaplaincy services. C.h.i.p.s (christians helping in primary schools) led by Eric Wieckmann, is the provider of a chaplain/student welfare worker to Brentwood Park Primary.
Why have a School Chaplain/Student Welfare Program?
We live in a wonderful community, but like any other community, some of our children from time to time experience friendship issues, the breakdown of family relationships or family dysfunction, economic hardship and critical incidents such as accident, illness or bereavement. In a school that prides itself on being a community school and on supporting and caring for each child, a school chaplain/student welfare worker therefore complemenst and supporst our existing student welfare programs, playing a key role in helping children cope with the challenges and stresses of life. In addition:
• it is not compulsory for any individual child to participate
• a chaplain/student welfare worker requires a Working with Children Check and follows an approved Code of Conduct
• a chaplain/student welfare worker must have a minimum Certificate IV in Youth Work or Pastoral Care or equivalent qualification. The minimum qualification must include mental health related and making appropriate referrals unit/s of competency
What is the role of School Chaplain/Student Welfare Workers?
• They work closely with the school’s wellbeing committee to plan and deliver student resilience and wellbeing services.
• They provide students, their families and staff with support and appropriate referrals, in difficult times of grief or when students face emotional challenges.
• They facilitate Lunchtime Clubs.
• They provide team building sessions on a ‘Day Away’ program.
• They participate in school activities, such as sport, camps, ‘vege’ garden clubs.
• They provide special days such as a ‘Sailing Day’.
• They mentor students.
• They facilitate community partnerships between the school and wider community.
What is not the role of School Chaplain/Student Welfare Workers?
• They do not provide religious education in the school.
• They do not attempt to convert students to a religion or set of beliefs through proselytising or evangelising.
• They do not initiate faith discussions with a view to coercing or manipulating students to a particular view or spiritual belief.
• They do not counsel.