Home' The Southern Cross : April 2017 Contents SCHOOLS
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Catholic school principals, teachers and counsellors have
a key role to play in seeking support for young people
who are affected by cancer, says Adelaide’s Catholic
Archbishop Philip Wilson.
Archbishop Wilson recently hosted representatives
of CanTeen, a national support organisation for young
Australians living with cancer, after learning about the
work they do when he attended a local school assembly.
CanTeen division manager Brad Manuel and division
support officer Emilie Soda spoke to him about the struggle
to reach teachers and counsellors, with a lot of referrals
coming through the health system.
“It’s important that our school staff are aware of the
resources available to help young people going through the
trauma of cancer,” said Archbishop Wilson.
About 2000 young people in South Australia are affected
by cancer each year, whether their own diagnosis or that of
a parent or sibling.
When 15-year-old Emma Kelsey joined CanTeen in 2013
it was two years after the death of her mother from cancer.
Her class at Glen Osmond Primary had just participated
in the charity’s annual Bandanna Day and a teacher who
was a volunteer for CanTeen gave her some brochures and
“Since joining I’ve been on many camps, recreation
days and made heaps of friends who really understand
what you go through,” said Emma who is now part of the
CanTeen leadership group.
“I do have a lot of fun but I’ve also appreciated being
able to talk to the CanTeen counsellors; it’s good to be able
to get everything off your chest and work through what you
might be feeling and learn coping strategies.”
Mr Manuel said almost 90 per cent of the CanTeen
community comprised of young people affected by a
family member suffering from cancer.
“They have had their lives turned upside down and they
need opportunities to have a break from what they may be
going through at home, connect with peers and do what any
other young person would be doing for recreation at this
time in their life,” he said.
“In Emma’s experience it was her school and teacher that
was the catalyst to get her to join CanTeen. Educators have
a daily connection with young people and they are often
the ones to sense when something is wrong or a young
person is struggling to cope.
“It is so important to us that teachers and school
counsellors know CanTeen exists, then we can hopefully
make a positive difference in a student’s life by connecting
them to services and other young people in a similar
situation when they most need it.”
Jacinta Cox is one of CanTeen’s psychosocial support
workers and has worked closely with Emma over the past
“We work to assess the needs of young people when they
join the program,” she said.
“Then after five months we assess them again and from
then on, once a year.
“It’s amazing to see the progress that these young people
make. Emma is doing so much and getting involved in
things she never would have even considered when we first
started working together.”
CanTeen can be contacted at 8122 6492 or visit
living with cancer
Personalised learning approaches and a strong
emphasis on engaging with individual students
have been identified as two key areas leading
to Holy Family Catholic School’s significant
improvements in its NAPLAN numeracy
scores over the past two years.
“There is a plethora of data around these
days,” said principal Kerry White. “Our
approach is quite different as we put faces on
the data – we personalise learning by placing a
high value on engagement.
“We have an unconditional positive regard
for each of our students, we suspend judgement
and work from each person’s character
strengths. We work hard to ensure that all
learners and teachers are present, centred and
grounded and have a clear understanding of
themselves as a learner and their preferred
mode of learning.”
With nearly 750 students, the school
community has 50 different ethnic and cultural
groups represented, with more than 70 per
cent of students from non-English speaking
“We have Language of the Fortnight
in which we highlight one of our many
community languages and their socio-cultural
characteristics and positive traits. We don’t do
multiculturalism – we live it,” Mr White said.
Holy Family was one of 17 Catholic schools
recognised by the Australian Curriculum
Assessment and Reporting Authority for high
gains in their NAPLAN scores between 2014
For the past two years Christ the King School
at Warradale has also been identified for its
above average improvement in the NAPLAN
reading skills of its Year 5 students, compared
to their results in Year 3.
“We aim to have each child achieve growth
in their learning and these results recognise
the commitment and diligence of our teaching
and support staff, parents and children,” said
principal Liz Keogh.
She attributed the significant improvement in
results to: a focus on explicit teaching methods
in reading and numeracy; an understanding of
where each child is in their learning through
the use of evidence; the Reading to Learn
program; significant investment in teacher
professional learning; high expectations for
all students; a supportive, encouraging and
collaborative school environment; and the
building of strong relationships between
families, children and staff.
Full list of Catholic schools recognised at
Eating raw Brussels sprouts may not be to
everyone’s taste but students from St Pius X
at Windsor Gardens are willing to give it a go
as part of an innovative Food Club program
running at the school.
Established in 2012, the program is designed
to get children eating more fruit and vegetables
and trying different foods.
Dietitian Tania Ferraretto, who founded the
program with the school’s canteen manager
and cook Neville Nichols, said students of all
ages enjoyed learning about different fruits
and vegetables and participating in the all-
important “taste test”. Members of the class
were then asked to vote on how enjoyable they
found the experience.
“It’s all about getting kids to enjoy fruit and
vegetables in a non-threatening way. We’re
exposing them to familiar and new things in a
positive environment with their friends.
“We talk about how the fruit or vegetable
grows, the nutritional value and they become
familiar with it and it is not scary anymore,”
Neville added that the only rule in Food Club
was that students had to taste the food and give
their tastebuds the opportunity to “know” the
fruit or vegetable.
“They are told their tastebuds may change
over time, so if they don’t like it the first time
they might like it later,” he said.
The program was written by Tania and is
based on a CSIRO study on exposing children
to fruit and vegetables at ages four to six.
During the Thursday sessions run at the school
the students also learn how to cook the foods
and get to take recipes home.
Parents are also on board with what the Food
“We’ve been getting great feedback from
parents who are thrilled their kids are trying
new things and learning about different
fruits and vegetables, such as raw beetroot
and parsnip. We’ve also found that Brussels
sprouts and fennel are very popular at home,”
And while fruit or vegetables were
preferable, Tania said there was no right or
wrong when it came to the occasional “treat”.
Referring to the infamous chocolate slice
incident at a kindergarten in Adelaide earlier
this year, Tania said sending a note home in
a child’s lunchbox about inappropriate food
choices was not the answer.
“That is a ‘sometimes’ food not an ‘everyday’
food,” she explained. “You don’t want kids to
feel guilty about eating something... it’s all
BOOKWORMS: Christ the King students,
from left, Nyaradzo Zembe, Ava Pretty, Ruby
Wellington and Millie Curkpatrick share a book
and practise their reading skills.
Schools score NAPLAN gains
from left, Lola,
GOOD ADVICE: Emma Kelsey (right) has been
supported by Jacinta Cox from CanTeen.
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