The absence of male teachers at a southern Sydney Catholic primary school has helped fuel a promising new project which is nurturing strong mentoring skills in secondary students and helping primary students better prepare for high school at the same time.
The Principal of St Francis De Sales primary school in Woolooware, Mrs Suzanne Clay started the Good Men Project this year in partnership with her counterpart at De La Salle College, Caringbah, Mr Peter Buxton.
With no male teachers on her staff, Mrs Clay was becoming increasingly anxious about a lack of good male role models for the boys at her school.
“It helps instil them with confidence, to know they can be a good role model to the younger students as they step into the position of mentor and guide which really helps them develop a greater sense of maturity and responsibility.” – Ms Lyn Slater
“With many of our Year 6 boys progressing on to an all boys school in De La Salle College Caringbah, I thought a program in which they could meet staff and senior students from that school would help ease their transition into high school”, she explained.
A mini-bus was hired to take the Year 6 students from Woolooware to Caringbah for classes with Year 9 and 10 students across PDHPE, Maths, Science and Drama.
“The primary boys are really enjoying the excursions to what for many of them will be their high school and so it’s helping to nurture a real sense of continuity in their education, since they’ve already started to meet some of their future teachers and school-mates before they’ve entered Year 7”, Mrs Clay said.
The Director of Learning at De La Salle College Caringbah, Ms Lyn Slater, said the program has also been highly beneficial for her students in Years 9 and 10.
“It helps instil them with confidence, to know they can be a good role model to the younger students as they step into the position of mentor and guide which really helps them develop a greater sense of maturity and responsibility”, she said.
“We believe the program is especially beneficial for gifted and talented students who may be involved in the Newman program …” – Mrs Suzanne Clay
There are plans to expand the program to cover Year 5 students at St Francis De Sales primary school and also to other feeder primary schools, including Our Lady of Fatima primary at Caringbah.
Mrs Clay believes a similar mentoring program could also work well for girls as they prepare to enter high school at the nearby Our Lady of Mercy College in Burraneer.
“We believe the program is especially beneficial for gifted and talented students who may be involved in the Newman program because it provides them with the opportunity to undertake some extension work in a high school setting as well”.