A sense of belonging


Catholic Education Melbourne Executive Director Stephen Elder says the greatest compliment he has ever received was overhearing one parent tell another: “If you want your child to be truly happy, then you should send them to a Catholic school.”
“Our schools encourage students to learn through enquiry, and teachers are encouraged to support students in their search for understanding and meaning,” Mr Elder explains.
“We want our students to explore the big questions in life with a clear vision of what is good about themselves, their relationships and the world in which they live.”
This emphasis on the whole student is what sets Catholic schools apart.
Catholic school parents say their children are genuinely cared for and understood by their teachers, creating a sense of belonging that enables them to discover the gifts they have been given and develop them to the best of their abilities.
Sarah, whose daughter moved from the government system last year, says “You get the feeling in the Catholic system that your child is a real individual, not just a name on a roll, and that you’re part of a far broader community, a real family.”
Teacher Liam Buckley explains this approach well. “The thing I like about working in the Catholic school environment is that we genuinely put the student’s wellbeing at the heart of everything we do,” he says.
“School for our students is not just about the learning of content but the development of the person as a whole, which underpins what a Catholic education should be about.”
Mr Elder says Catholic schools work hard to discover what matters to each student and identify what they want from life and what will give them joy.
“Without a strong sense of self, successful learning and achievement is difficult to attain. Self-regard and self-esteem are powerful motivators in all walks of life and it’s no different when it comes to education,” he explains.
“Understanding who you are, what you want and how best to get there is part of a contemporary education. With every choice we nurture a love of learning and a desire for knowledge because it’s from that starting point that the best results follow.”