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Holistic Program Aids Wellbeing of Students

Holistic Program Aids Wellbeing of Students

Melbourne Girls Grammar was highlighted in the ‘Beyond Academics’ education feature in The Age on Sunday 16 September. Read below how we are supporting our girls to set goals, allowing students to develop resilience and skills while attending to their wellbeing. 


Melbourne Girls Grammar has taken a future focused approach by redesigning its Senior Years Program. The school aims to prepare its graduates to have an enterprising mindset so that they are ready for life beyond school. The emphasis is on ‘‘being well’’ as much as it is on ‘‘doing well’’. Although the senior years are the girls in Years 9 to 12, the principles of the program permeate throughout the school.

“We have reframed the traditional model of schooling allowing us to invest in each girl as an individual.” Nikki Kirkup, Director of Senior Years

Director of Senior Years, Nikki Kirkup says: “The school has always had a firm belief in holistic education, with wellbeing at the heart of everything we do. We have reframed the traditional model of schooling allowing us to invest in each girl as an individual, nurturing her unique strengths and empowering her to be all that she can be.”

While the Artemis Centre, the physical embodiment of the Senior Years Program, opened a little over a year ago, it is, in reality, the tip of the groundbreaking program’s iceberg. The school has conducted global research and implemented major changes to ensure its learning programs prepare girls for the complexities of the changing workforce. The school developed what it believes to be an optimum graduate profile for today’s world, and set in place the ways and means for its students to achieve this ideal. “It came down to creating a program that allows students to integrate physical, social and emotional self care with academic studies, and a network of support,” namely expert teachers, academic and fitness coaches, and dedicated wellbeing coaches.

“It is an honour and responsibility when families bring their girls to us, and their education must be premised on being healthy in body, mind and spirit. Our centre has been built with that purpose in mind.” Catherine Misson, Principal

“In the past, schools have relied on teaching staff to fulfil that pastoral role, but we wanted the expert skill sets of wellbeing professionals. Our wellbeing coaches are available to engage with our girls every day, in groups and in one-on-one sessions. We’ve worked closely with the team to create a coaching model bespoke for adolescents in an academic environment,” says Ms Kirkup.

A key part of the concept is for senior students to formulate a learning and wellbeing model they feel is most appropriate for themselves. “This program has allowed girls to develop a sense of agency into the way they explore their education. They develop the confidence to determine how they shape their day and are supported by the networks around them. We now see girls who have a high level of motivation, which is intrinsic because they see a real purpose in what they’re doing because they’ve chosen to do it.”

The Artemis Centre, named after the mythical goddess who represents strength and good health, is a community centre developed by women for women and embodies the schools’ commitment to the wellbeing of girls. It is centred on the Senior Years educational philosophy of an education for life that promotes the attributes and skills a young woman needs to understand and manage their own wellbeing.

Principal Catherine Misson says: “It is an honour and responsibility when families bring their girls to us, and their education must be premised on being healthy in body, mind and spirit. Our centre has been built with that purpose in mind.”

The centre comprises a cafe, learning commons, silent study spaces, 25-metre pool, yoga and Pilates studio, and a fitness hub. A focus on emotional and physical well-being has become a way of life at the school. When girls feel confident and strong in their environment, their learning flourishes.

A.B. Bishop, The Age
Sunday 16 September