Educating the 'whole child'

St Joseph?s Murwillumbah principal Paul McDermott and students Fletcher Budd (back left), Bronte Anthony (back right), (front
St Joseph?s Murwillumbah principal Paul McDermott and students Fletcher Budd (back left), Bronte Anthony (back right), (front

TAI CHI, yoga and elements of martial arts form a part of the new Well Being Program being introduced into St Josephs Catholic Primary School over the next few months.

Principal Paul McDermott said the South Murwillumbah-based school has received a $50,000 federal government grant, through the Healthy Active Schools program, to run a 12-month program focusing on “ensuring a healthy mind, body and soul”.

He said St Josephs was the only school in the Tweed and the only Catholic school in the Lismore Dioceses to receive the grant.

“The aim is to produce well-adjusted, well-balanced children,” Mr McDermott said.

Under the scheme, outlined to parents in recent weeks, tai chi/yoga lessons will be conducted each week for all classes from Kindergarten to Year Six, primary classes will participate in the “mad sports” during term three, detailed physical activity programs will be developed for all classes and there will be health and fitness assessments of all students in order to monitor attitudes and abilities in physical activity.

The main part of the Well Being initiative, the You Can Do It Program, aims at teaching: getting along, organisation skills, confidence, persistence and emotional resilience.

One of the cornerstones of the new Well Being initiative will be the continuation of the successful Rock and Water program, which began with 10 students last year.

Three of the school's teachers, Barb Quinn, Tony Davis and Ray Nihill, have all been trained as instructors for the program.

Mrs Quinn said Rock and Water was a Dutch program aimed at getting boys more in touch with their physical side to improve their self-control, self-confidence and social skills. She said the aim was to improve self-awareness, social awareness and mental awareness.

With studies showing that 30-40 per cent of students across NSW under-achieve, the St Joseph's Well Being Program is aiming to go beyond just teaching reading, writing and arithmetic.

“We are talking about the whole child,” Mrs Quinn said.

“If a student is feeling bad about themselves they are not going to achieve.”

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