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Pastoral Care & Well-Being

What sets Catherine McAuley School apart is its caring and nurturing environment inspired by our Patron Catherine McAuley and the Mercy Education Values. We embed the values of compassion, justice, respect, hospitality, service and courage into the fabric of our school. Catherine McAuley School is blessed with a compassionated and dedicated staff who are committed to supporting students and families throughout each child’s educational journey. 

As educators in partnership with parents, our role is to nurture the learning of all students in our care. A key component of our holistic learning philosophy is to ensure that our student management is centred around our Christian Values, particularly resting in the dignity of each individual. We believe that each child is unique and of equal importance, and has a special contribution to make to our school community. 

Central to our work is to ensure that Catherine McAuley School is a place where children feel safe, are happy, and learn in a cooperative environment. Our personal responsibility policy aims at children taking responsibility for their actions and directing their energies towards positive strategies and behaviours. We aim to ensure children know that they are special, so they may grow in love and respect for themselves and one another and we work in partnership with parents in order to foster children’s positive development of appropriate behaviour. 

Our Social and Emotional programs 

Student Counsellor

At Catherine McAuley School we are fortunate to have a qualified Counsellor who provides a Counselling Service for students who have personal or School related issues which may impact  on their learning and their overall wellbeing. At Catherine McAuley School, we deliver prevention and intervention support to enhance our student’s wellbeing, development and learning. This intervention may include one to one support, small group or classroom. The Student Counsellor coordinates our Mentoring and Social Skills programs and oversees outside agencies who support our students at school. The counsellor also supports staff in the implementation of social skills programs in the classroom setting. 


The Catherine McAuley School ‘In-school Mentoring Program’ supports children across the school that are in need of extra support and encouragement.  The mentoring program has become the quiet achiever, which supports learning outcomes in our students.  Their aim is to foster a trusting relationship with students, which may help your child in both the classroom and schoolyard.  Mentoring is a personalised and individual encouragement approach.  Our trained Mentors support students to develop skills, find confidence, build self-esteem and to discover new ways to interact, learn and work.  The mentors work on a one to one basis for anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes 1 to 5 days a week at school, depending on the student needs. 

Social Groups 

Social groups are designed and have been organised to support, encourage and further develop student's social awareness, self-confidence and to build on self-esteem. Students are withdrawn in small groups each week to engage and experience new social activities. 

Peaceful Kids 

The Catherine McAuley School Peaceful Kids Program is a mindfulness and positive psychology based program to lessen anxiety and stress and increase resilience in children. The program has been created to fulfil a need to offer all children a developmentally appropriate program that gives children the skills, practice and support to utilise coping strategies that lessen the symptoms of anxiety and stress. The program also involves parental involvement and commitment to supporting the strategies at home. Catherine McAuley has qualified staff members to conduct small group and full class sessions. 

Community Kids

The Catherine McAuley School Community Kids program is a program to enhance our student well-being programs already in place at our school. Community Kids helps to further develop skills in the area of confidence, self-esteem, resilience, empathy, reflection, growth mindset as well as mindfulness. Through the support of work placement students from Bower Place, our students have the opportunity to participate in small group activities or one-on-one support that allows them to learn more about themselves and further develop skills in the above-mentioned areas. This program takes place in our school from Term 2 to Term 4. 

Upstream Health 

Upstream Health is an allied health practice available to Catherine McAuley School students by approved appointment once per week. Upstream Health provides in-school psychology sessions to students and parents. The on-site support allows the concern to be addressed by both parents and school staff. Upstream Health works with parents and children together to address issues, which may be occurring. Psychology sessions in school may be appropriate for children experiencing anxiety, depression, difficulties with issues such as emotion regulation, anger management, peer difficulties, bullying, and sleep difficulties. Sessions are generally delivered and bulk-billed for children with a valid Mental Health Care Plan prepared by a GP. Sessions are also available through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). 

Kimochis – Junior Primary Focus 

Kimochis look like toys, but when used effectively, are a communication tool that allows children to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitude required to identify and manage their emotions. They provide an opportunity for children to demonstrate care and concern for others, build quality relationships, and assist in the development of responsible decision-making during times of stress and difficulty. The Kimochis program is mostly utilised in the Junior Primary school.  

Play is the Way 

Play is the Way (PITW) program. PITW is a practical methodology for teaching social and emotional skills using guided play, classroom activities and an empowering language. PITW games teach children to respond appropriately to the thrill of success and the disappointment of failure; encourage children to use their skills to advantage others in the pursuit of common objectives; engage children’s emotions and call for the regulation of those emotions to achieve progress; and act as metaphors, similes and analogies for life.

Each lesson, introduces a key concept to students, such as: 

  • Treat others as you would like them to treat you 
  • Be brave – participate to progress 
  • Pursue your personal best no matter who you work with 
  • Have reasons for the things you say and do 
  • It takes great strength to be sensible 

Through questioning, students unpack the concepts with the expectancy that they can be used as a reference point that assists them to reflect upon their behaviour.  


At Catherine McAuley we work with our students to develop social skills and more appropriate social strategies that enable students to interact with others in a positive manner. School must also be a place where children feel safe. As part of our school program we provide opportunities for children to develop and appreciate their uniqueness.

We teach about the value of freedom and justice for all and an underlying belief in the dignity and uniqueness of each person. At Catherine McAuley School children are explicitly taught:

  • how to solve problems
  • how to get help if needed to resolve problems
  • how to differentiate between those problems that need help from an adult and those that can be resolved without adult intervention

We employ a range of strategies including social skills programs for small groups and whole class, mentoring and whole school Bully Busting workshops. We also mentor certain children and provide buddy support and lunch time social skills programs in all Year levels.

Defence Families

Catherine McAuley School provides support for children of Australian Defence Force members during their time in Adelaide. For more information visit our Defence Families information HERE.