Comet Bay College places a high value on nurturing the social and emotional development of its students, recognising the crucial role it plays in producing well-rounded graduates who can confidently face real-life challenges in their future endeavours. In response to this vision, the College introduced the REACH Program in 2015, designed to empower each student with happiness, resilience, and a clear sense of purpose and direction. REACH stands for Resilience, Emotional Awareness, Careers, and Health. This comprehensive pastoral care curriculum delivers social and emotional learning (SEL) programs within a classroom setting and is a compulsory part of the curriculum for students in Years 7, 8, and 9.
Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) programs teach students how to recognise and regulate their emotions effectively, cultivate empathy and understanding of others, foster positive relationships, make responsible decisions, work collaboratively, and constructively handle challenging situations. By establishing positive connections with peers and educators, students are more likely to excel academically, find motivation to reach their full potential, and succeed in their learning journey. Furthermore, embedding resilience and problem-solving skills into the curriculum at an early stage prepares our students for the teenage years when they may face increased vulnerability to risky behaviours and disengagement from school.
Extensive research, both internationally and in Australia, highlights the effectiveness of SEL programs when delivered through a whole-school approach with a structured curriculum. This ensures that students learn and practice these skills in a systematic manner, ultimately fostering a thriving and positive culture within the College.
The REACH Program at Comet Bay College focuses on three key areas of development:
- Social and emotional learning
- Personal, social, and community health
- Career development
Social and Emotional Learning
Students will learn about self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and social management.
Self-awareness is the capacity to recognise and understand one’s own emotions, values, strengths, and have a realistic assessment of abilities, fostering a well-grounded sense of self-esteem and self-confidence. Developing and demonstrating this personal and social capacity allows students to:
- identify, describe, and understand their emotions and their underlying causes, facilitating emotion regulation and knowing when to seek help from others;
- make accurate self-judgments; and
- cultivate internal motivation and experience satisfaction upon achieving goals. This skill influences long-term aspirations and career paths.
Self-management entails regulating emotions to handle stress, manage behaviour, control impulses, persevere through obstacles, set personal and academic goals, and cultivate self-discipline, resilience, adaptability, and initiative. In developing this personal and social capacity, students demonstrate:
- emotion regulation, learn to manage overwhelming feelings and employ strategies to restore balance – crucial as high school brings challenging coursework and emotions like test anxiety; and
- effective stress coping, leading to smoother transitions and improved academic performance.
Social awareness involves perceiving and understanding others’ emotions and viewpoints, showing empathy, identifying team members’ strengths, accepting roles and responsibilities, being of service, and utilising community resources. In developing this personal and social capacity, students learn how to:
- understand and respect others’ perspectives, foster healthy relationships and demonstrate prosocial behaviour;
- identify situations where social support aids in problem management, such as parental and peer support during transitions to secondary schooling; and
- excel in group work and relate to individuals from diverse backgrounds, enhancing social support.
Social management teaches several essential life skills, including how to build positive relationships, influence others’ emotions, cooperate and communicate effectively, collaborate in teams, develop leadership skills, make decisions, resolve conflict, and resist inappropriate social pressure.
Personal, Social and Community Health
PSCH empowers students to make well-informed decisions regarding their own health, safety, and overall wellbeing. The program focuses on six key areas: alcohol and drugs, food and nutrition, the importance of physical activity, mental health and wellbeing, relationships and sexuality, and safety. Throughout the course, students will be equipped to:
- explore the impact of transition and change on identities;
- evaluate effective strategies to manage personal, physical and social changes as they age;
- practise and apply techniques to seek help for themselves or support others in need;
- investigate and select strategies to promote health, safety and wellbeing;
- examine the positive effects of relationships on personal and communal health and wellbeing;
- analyse the factors influencing emotions and develop empathy and sensitivity towards others;
- acquire skills to evaluate health information and express health concerns effectively;
- devise plans and adopt health practices, behaviours and resources to enhance the health, safety and wellbeing of their communities;
- strategise ways to connect with and promote the health of natural and built environments in their communities; and
- recognise the advantages of embracing diversity and fostering inclusivity for both individuals and communities.
Career Development equips young individuals with the necessary resources to make well-informed choices regarding their career paths and transitions after secondary school. This program empowers students to proactively prepare for their future by acquiring essential skills, knowledge, and competencies, enabling them to independently navigate their career journey.
Through this initiative, students will gain valuable insights into identifying and creating opportunities, uncovering their unique strengths and talents, aligning with their core values and interests, and honing decision-making abilities to craft well-thought-out learning and career programs.
More information about the College’s Career Development education programs for all year groups can be found here.