At Kempsey Adventist School (KAS), we believe that every child is a child of God and needs and deserves individual care. We endeavour to lead our students to know their God, themselves and their place in society. Pastoral care embraces a total caring for each child and influences all teacher/student relationships.
KAS is committed to the wellbeing of our entire school community. We employ two chaplains and a counsellor to cater for the pastoral care needs of KAS students and their families. The chaplains and counsellor are available to all members of our school community by appointment. Protocols apply to students who want to visit a chaplain or counsellor during class time.
We believe our students have an equal right to learn, work and play, while being treated with respect and dignity. We encourage them to appreciate their own worth, and that of others, so that each can develop to his or her potential.
We promote respect and care for the environment, as well as the development of a deepening sense of care for others, especially those who are disadvantaged.
Our emphasis is on positive relationships between school, students, staff and families. This is vital in the interests of the wellbeing of our students.
Our Pastoral Care team
Kieren Jackson is the full-time primary chaplain at KAS. He completed his Bachelor of Education degree at Avondale College in 2004 and has since worked as a teacher at Medowie Christian School in Port Stephens, NSW. Subsequent to his teaching role, Kieren completed subjects in Theology and was pastor of a church. Known as Mr J, his office is located in the primary school and he enjoys interacting with staff, students and parents, either formally through appointment or informally around the campus. Mr J is passionate about his work and enjoys the diversity of responsibilities that chaplaincy provides. These responsibilities include the coordination of pastoral care programs for students, staff and the wider school community.
Shonel Jackson, school counsellor, completed her degree in Social Work at Newcastle University and worked in the role as an Early Intervention Practitioner for young people at risk of homelessness in the Newcastle area for five years. Shonel has recently completed a Masters in Social Work specialising in Couple and Family therapy through Charles Sturt University. Shonel works on a part-time basis at the School on Thursday and Friday offering support to primary students, secondary school students and their parents. Shonel is known as Mrs J and her office is located in the middle of the school.
Our approach to Pastoral Care
The particular approaches to the provision of pastoral care depend upon the age of students. In the primary school, the individual classroom teacher assumes great importance in knowing and understanding each child in his or her care. In addition, our chaplains play an important role in the pastoral care of our primary students.
In the secondary school, the pastoral care program works towards developing a sense of community and belonging. The school community provides a safe, nurturing and happy environment in which students and staff alike, demonstrate care, compassion, courtesy and respect for others. Religious Studies classes, weekly chapel periods, class devotions, school camps and excursions all play an integral role in building positive relationships and in teaching students to accept responsibility for their own behaviour and achievements.
KAS has a strong commitment to ensuring that every student feels safe, enjoys coming to school, and can achieve their best in a classroom learning environment that is enthusiastic, challenging and well-managed.
Pastoral Care Initiatives
The following Pastoral Care initiatives that have been implemented into the KAS Program:
Values Education in the Primary School (Bible Based)
Values education is a board of studies syllabus requirement. Students are taught one value per week for each week of school in the year. Students learn the value through input from the classroom teacher and via a 30 minute lesson taught by Mr J.
Primary and secondary school chapel programs are organised by the school chaplain. These programs take place on a weekly basis and are designed to give students the opportunity to develop spiritually through involvement with worship music and hearing from a variety of inspirational speakers.
Week of Worship (WOW)
Each semester, KAS students are involved in a special week of spiritual focus which promotes spiritual growth in students. An inspiring guest speaker encourages students in their spiritual journey. This high energy week provides further opportunities for students to lead in worship through music, drama, public speaking and other creative, community building activities. Students are given opportunities to strengthen their relationship with Jesus. Many students choose to get involved in Bible study groups with a school chaplain or another adult once WOW is over. Chaplains are also happy to assist in arranging these with the students’ own church community.
A chaplain is present on almost all school camps and excursions and plays an active role in supporting staff and students.
Primary & Secondary students with parental permission participate in Bible studies led by the Pastoral Care Team.
Pastoral Care Classes
Pastoral Care classes are based on Adventist Development Relief Agency’s (ADRA) “Getting Connected” program which focuses on building resilient youth and growing strong communities. Secondary school students participate in one pastoral care class each week. The classes focus on and teach students skills in the following areas:
- School life
- Sexuality, Drug use, Alcoholism & Divorce
Teachers and pastoral care staff are involved in leading these classes. Students focus on one topic each semester and then rotate.
All students have the opportunity to access one-on-one counselling services through appointment or teacher/parent referrals.
Grooup counselling for students is available for dealing with topics such as bullying and friendship.
A large portion of student pastoral care is provided through teachers.
KAS is intentional in its commitment to Christian education. All aspects of the curriculum are taught from a Christian perspective which provides students with the love and support needed to grow in Christian character. Classes in Religious Studies provide opportunity for each student to further explore who God is, what faith in Jesus Christ is about, and how a Christian worldview provides a framework for ethical thinking and wrestling with life’s issues.
Worship lies at the heart of the school community. Staff members begin their day in staff worship where they commit their day to God pray and as a team. Students are also encouraged to start the day on a spiritual note as teachers lead their Homeroom group in a brief devotional time each morning.