Welcome back to ERC for 2023. We are Natalie and Tim, the College counsellors at ERC, and this article is one of many that will contribute to a counselling column in the newsletter throughout this year. It’s our aim that these articles will be a point of reference by discussing particular issues that we observe to be either present or emerging within our student body. The articles will present information, provide clarity around issues that are coming up for students and/or parents, or simply generate food for thought. This week we would like to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves and briefly discuss transitioning into the new school year.
This is Natalie’s 5th year at ERC as College counsellor and clinical psychologist. Prior to working at ERC she worked at the Catholic Education Office for 5 years and prior to this her background was in child protection, foster care and child and family assessment/intervention. Natalie is passionate about youth mental health and enjoys the opportunity to work with and support our ERC students and their families.
Tim commenced working at ERC as College counsellor and clinical psychologist in 2022. Prior to this he worked at a Catholic boys’ college in Sydney for 5 years in the same role. He has a strong background in boys’ education and working with young people. To these ends, he has worked in community mental health settings in Wollongong and Nowra, supported young people in drug and alcohol residential settings, and completed extensive study at the University of Wollongong in Clinical Psychology.
We had the pleasure of meeting and working with the Year 7 students last week as part of the comprehensive transition to high school program. As part of this program the new students identified common concerns about starting high school:
- Making friends
- Managing the workload
- Changes to their routine (e.g. getting up earlier, catching public transport, etc.)
- Learning the new structure (e.g. getting lost at school, getting to class on time, etc.)
- Social issues (e.g. getting along with peers and older boys)
We spent time listening to these concerns with the students and together we identified tips for managing the transition to school, including:
- Using the ‘term planner’ (found in the front of each term tab in the student diary) to map out assessments for the term, in order to avoid forgetting tasks
- Packing their bag the night before school and checking their timetable to make sure they have all the required books, stationary and uniforms (e.g. sport clothes)
- Making sure they wake up in time to have breakfast before starting the school day
- Being open to meeting new people and forming new social connections even if they have a large existing friend group
- Making time to include students who may not know any other students at ERC
- Asking staff and older students for help if they are lost or unsure of something at school
- Connecting with their pastoral teacher or their pastoral coordinators if they need help or advice
Together we are looking forward to bringing you information and tips each fortnight in this newsletter to help support our ERC students and maximise their learning and experiences at ERC over the coming year. Please feel free to contact us at school if you have any questions, concerns or enquiries related to counselling.
Natalie and Tim