The Pastoral aspect of our ethos aims to educate the whole person and build the emotional intelligence so vital for academic learning. It deals with the well-being of the girls by establishing boundaries, exploring attitudes and reinforcing values. The goal is to prepare the girls for a life in which they will be good citizens, make a contribution and take responsibility for their decisions. We want them to become leaders who are confident, resilient and mindful of their social responsibilities. We want good communication skills, the ability to resolve conflict and strong values to be part of their everyday lives.
There is an established multi-disciplinary Academic Support Department, headed by a clinical remedial teacher, at the Preparatory School.
Specific assessments take place in order to investigate the learning styles of specific girls. Individual girls who need specialised learning support are assisted in their learning by one of two clinical remedial teachers. Special small group class-based lessons also take place. Programmes include the development of phonics, reading, writing, spelling and numeracy skills.
In addition, the Remedial Support Team includes a group of outside therapists who practise at school on a part-time basis. These professionals include a speech and language therapist, two physiotherapists, two occupational therapists and two facilitators. Speech and language therapy, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and facilitation are offered to individual girls during the course of the school day for a prescribed fee, payable by the parents.
Conflict Resolution remains a vital component of the Pre-Preparatory Curriculum. Dealing with conflict is an ageless problem and we believe that the sooner we prepare our girls, the better they will be equipped and able to cope in these situations.
In a happy and safe environment, and with the full involvement of all the staff, all girls, from Pre-Nursery onwards, are taught to understand their emotions and to relate to and respect the feelings of others. They are given coping strategies to deal with anger, sadness, embarrassment and frustration, and they are taught the importance of listening and how to turn negative statements into positive ones. Learning to use language and words to describe and express their feelings empowers the girls in a positive and constructive manner.
This foundation of Conflict Resolution skills that is established in the Pre-Nursery and Nursery classes is further expanded and added to in Grade R, where the girls are taught specific Mediation skills. Each girl is given the opportunity to be a Mediator for a day and actively intervene in and be involved in solving problems and disputes among other girls. The Mediators wear sashes so they are easily recognised and they take their duties very seriously.
This process and teaching goes a long way to ensure that the Pre-Preparatory environment is peaceful, happy and harmonious for all.
Developing the leadership potential of every Grade 7 girl is central to the school’s leadership programme. The girls are offered opportunities to serve the school by utilising their individual strengths and personal preferences.
During her Grade 7 year, each girl learns that leadership comes in many different forms, and that she can contribute meaningfully in her own special way.
She may choose to be a Class Monitor, assisting the Pre-Preparatory and Junior Preparatory teachers or she may enjoy the challenges involved in School Public Relations. She may use her leadership strengths to plan and run or assist with the Grade 7 Community Outreach projects for the year.
At the beginning of the year an initial Leadership Workshop is held to focus on the qualities required of leaders. Although the girls are expected to run their portfolios proactively, they are assisted and mentored by the Grade 7 Class Teachers and the Deputy Head.
Most of us remember the thrill of cheering for your team or your house until you are hoarse. Under a house system, more girls can participate in events such as galas, team sports, general knowledge quizzes or eisteddfods for house points.
The house system also gives girls the opportunity to build relationships with other girls who are not in their tutor classes and the house captains assume positions of leadership.
At Herschel we have four houses, all named after the four eminent men who were present at the opening of Herschel in 1922.
Rolt is named after Reverend D Rolt, Dean of St George’s Cathedral. The house colour is yellow and the mascot is a rabbit.
Merriman is named after the Honourable J X Merriman, Minister of Education. The house colour is red and the mascot is a reindeer.
Jagger is named after our founder, the Honourable J W Jagger. The house colour is green and the mascot is a hippo.
Carter is named after William Marlborough Carter, who was Archbishop when the school was founded and a member of the first school Council. The house colour is blue and the mascot is a lemur.
Herschel is an Anglican School that provides our girls with spiritual guidance based on a strong value system. Pupils of all religious denominations, however, are warmly welcomed into an inclusive and caring environment where each girl can explore and develop her own spirituality. Pupils are also encouraged to develop an understanding of other cultures and religious groups.
There is a full-time ordained priest as Chaplain, who offers guidance in spiritual, moral and ethical issues. Religious instruction in the Anglican faith is provided and all pupils are expected to attend these lessons and chapel services are compulsory, too.
Our Preparatory girls have regular services with the Chaplain on our own campus and also visit the School Chapel on the Senior School campus for special services.
Learning to make a difference, is what we believe we give our girls here at Herschel. The Community Outreach Programme at Herschel Preparatory is woven into the everyday life of the school. Staff endeavour to cultivate a social conscience in the girls and to give them the opportunity to make a meaningful difference to the lives of others. We hope that they will, through active involvement, learn that community service will not only make a difference to others’ lives, but also to their own.
The Grade 7 Fair is the main source of funding for our Community Outreach programme, together with money raised during various special events such as civvies days and the sales of ice-cream throughout the year.
Whole school programmes are undertaken such as the annual Big Walk in aid of the Peninsula School Feeding Fund and the CHOC Foundation. Sandwiches are collected weekly for pupils at disadvantaged schools and the pupils support causes such as the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, St Luke’s Hospice and Rural Child. At Easter, Easter Eggs are collected and distributed to various charitable organizations. A soap and toothpaste collection enables us to assist the Mowbray maternity home and the Constantia Village Trolley folk.
In addition to these whole school projects, each grade in the Preparatory School undertakes to perform one Act of Kindness every year.
Other projects are:
A favourite visit for the Grade 7 Outreach team is to spend the afternoon at the Princess Christian Home (PCH Village) in Tokai. The purpose of this visit is to spoil the ladies by giving them a manicure treat for Mother’s Day. They are then treated to a tasty tea, followed by musical entertainment. It is always a most worthwhile and rewarding experience.
Herschel pupils continue to assist disadvantaged schools with a termly can collection. The points accumulated from the collection are added to those of a chosen school. It is hoped that this additional support will assist this school to be placed in the can competition; thereby receiving much needed funds for their school.
The girls embrace the annual ‘Chores for a Cause’ project, whereby each girl is tasked with raising their own money by performing various chores. The purpose of this is to teach and encourage our girls to make sacrifices in order to help others
The Preparatory School also assists previously disadvantaged schools by giving professional support to teachers, through the Meister’s Programme at the Pre-Prep, assisting with material supplies and including their pupils in a number of cultural activities.
Community Outreach continues to offer wonderful opportunities for the girls to make a difference to the lives of others and is wonderfully enriching for all.