At Boroondara Park we adopt a whole school pastoral care program to support students and ensure strong connections are made across year levels. This cross-age model was developed at our school and has been adopted by several other schools in the region. The program is known as ‘CLaS’ which is an acronym for our school motto – Care, Learn and Share.
The whole school is divided into small groups of around 17 or 18 with each being led by a school staff member. The group membership remains the same from year to year and the adult remains with the same group in order to develop strong bonds over the years that the children are at school. Each group contains children from each grade level who meet every two weeks to participate in a range of activities.
The focus of CLaS activities is student wellbeing and social skill development. Groups engage in a range of activities including craft, school grounds work, discussion, drama and games. The older children are encouraged to take a leadership role and prepare activities that reinforce the ‘Bounce Back’ resilience and social skills guidelines that have been adopted by the whole school.
A couple of times a year, the year six leaders work together to organise a whole-school CLaS activity that allows the groups to demonstrate their team work and cohesion. Examples are the newspaper tower building activity and the old fashioned games conducted in 2010.