Choosing a school for children can be a challenging and vexed issue but for the Flynn family of Avalon, their choice of local Catholic schools for their four children was a no-brainer, primarily because they were confident that pastoral care was something firmly entrenched in their local Catholic schools.
Andette Flynn, who is a secondary teacher at Mater Maria Catholic College at Warriewood said the pastoral care at their schools of choice – Mater Maria and Maria Regina Catholic Primary School at Avalon – were “second to none”.
“The way they take care of our children is just unbelievable,” Andette said.
“No child is left out in the cold. Everybody is really well taken care of, in a pastoral sense.”
Andette and her husband Darren also both attended Catholic schools and valued their respective experiences, hence opting for a Catholic education for Patrick, currently in Year Ten, Holly, in Year Eight, Aidan, in Year Four and Evan, in Year Three.
“It truly is a community,” Andette said.
“The schools are nurturing and treat the whole family as really important. Triumphs are celebrated – that’s academic triumphs and sporting triumphs – and there’s a real sense of belonging and connection to the school and so much commitment to the community.”
Andette said each of her children’s different strengths, whether they be academic or in the sporting fields, were encouraged and supported throughout their school lives.
“My Year 10 son at the moment is going through the experience of selecting Year 11 subjects and in society lots of kids leave because some schools don’t give them the subjects that they want. I am completely confident in the ability of Mater Maria to give him everything that he needs to do really well in his HSC,” she said.
The schools were helping children to “be the best they can be” in learning and in their social lives, she said.
Pastoral care is centred on promoting personal, social, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing, including positive relationships, resilience and engagement in learning.
The Broken Bay Diocese has established a Pastoral Care and Wellbeing Framework for learning, with ten pathways to support a safe, positive learning environment across its schools.