Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary School profile

  • Is located in Annerley, 6 kms south of Brisbane CBD
  • Enrols 150 students from Prep to Year 7
  • Has a diverse community with more than 15 cultural groups represented
  • Includes brief information videos on the school website

Introducing KidsMatter Primary

One of the reasons for getting involved with KidsMatter Primary at Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary School was to add to the initiatives that support students and parents. 
 
The school has a diverse range of students, and the idea was to introduce a way of uniting teachers with students and parents/carers in a positive school community. The scope in Component 1 provided guidance for this approach.
 
Everyone got on board with KidsMatter Primary- there weren’t any issues. Teachers knew that we were putting a sharper focus on how we were working with our families. Parents and students were interested in the idea of bringing the community together.
Gretta Kindt, Learning Support, Inclusive Education

Steps to implementation

When the staff at Mary Immaculate agreed to implement KidsMatter Primary a few steps were involved before the official launch. The Action Team planned the graduated initial steps. First, at a Parents and Friends Committee meeting, one of the short introductory videos was viewed and discussed by members, and this provided a context for the implementation. 
 
The second step was the hosting of a Multicultural Festival where students’ faces were displayed on a screen on the wall behind the KidsMatter Primary stall in between the statement, ‘every face has a place’. Closer to the date of the Official launch, KidsMatter information sheets were inserted into weekly issues of school newsletters.

Official launch - National Psychology Week

One of the parents on the Action Team, a psychologist, successfully applied for a National Psychology Week Small Grant to contribute to the costs of the launch of KidsMatter Primary on 15 November 2012. The launch was composed of different aspects: an opening ritual in the Church; a brief presentation on the mental health and wellbeing of children and adolescents given by a psychologist and a continuous display loop of students’ faces. 
 
The students were divided into nine mixed-age groups who were taken through a set of spiritual, physical and artistic activities that related to the idea of ‘every face has a place’.
 
One of the activities involved students forming the parts of a large human body. Another focus was decorating biscuits with a face and the third involved students painting paper dolls that were cut out, joined together and displayed in the school foyer. Large numbers of parents attended along with the local Member of Parliament and representatives of the Catholic Education Office.
 
Highlights of the launch were the cutting of a huge cake that was decorated with the slogan ‘every face has a place” and each student and all staff members placing their individual photograph on the KidsMatter ‘every face has a place’ banner.
 
During the launch we observed that students connected with the idea of ‘community’ in different ways. They were really engaged with all the activities and understood the idea of supporting each other in the groups. We had a strong start to KidsMatter Primary in our school – it really was a community-building event.
Jo Patrick, School Guidance Counsellor

Vision canvas

At the beginning of each year at Mary Immaculate, the Art teacher arranges a large canvas for the representation of the Staff Vision. The staff can draw and write ideas about the agreed vision for the year ahead. This approach to developing a vision is replicated in each classroom and taught alongside a unit about the values and principles that are important in the school. This unit is taught in each class early in Term 1.
 
The Code for Peaceful Relationships outlines the expectations of interactions in the school in three simple ways.
  • Speak and act with respect
  • Demonstrate self-control
  • Act safely

Connections with KidsMatter

Mary Immaculate has a reputation for being an inclusive school. Staff members have been very supportive of the implementation of KidsMatter Primary and are ready to embark on Component 2. This will be an opportunity to look carefully at the number of programs used in a pastoral care context and review the social and emotional learning focus and link it to KidsMatter. 
 
The vision canvas process really works. It helps everyone – staff and students – to articulate the importance of accepting difference. It develops an understanding of the importance of how to be a community and links to our Code for Peaceful Relationships. 
Gretta Kindt, Learning Support, Inclusive Education
 

A window of possibilities

It’s here already in our school – the idea of community. We’re making the language for it stronger through KidsMatter Primary. It is not onerous because so far it has been a validation of what we are doing. It has also made us aware of what else we could do to support students and their families. It has been like a window of possibilities.
Jo Patrick, School Guidance Counsellor

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