Wellbeing Mentoring Programme launched at Scoil Mhuire Kanturk

Scoil Mhuire Kanturk is going leaps and bounds over and above caring for the wellbeing of their students with the introduction of a Wellbeing Mentoring Programme and Wellbeing courses within the curriculum.
Scoil Mhuire Kanturk (SMK) has a history of offering an effective pastoral care system, building a supportive and nurturing environment crucial for the overall well-being and development of its students. Despite this the COVID-19 pandemic brought new challenges not just through the disruption to education but in having a significant impact on the overall wellbeing of children. Children have experienced increased levels of stress, anxiety, depression and isolation due to the pandemic.
This Wellbeing Mentoring Programme identifies Transition Year students to be trained as Senior Cycle Mentors. These students are then matched based on a number of carefully considered factors with an incoming First Year student in August.
Transitioning to a new school can be an exciting yet challenging experience. The mentors have a crucial role in supporting and guiding the new students through this process ensuring their life at SMK will be as enjoyable as possible.
The Programme is facilitated by Belinda Murphy, the Personal Development Teacher at SMK and former past pupil. Belinda has worked closely with the school management to ensure First Year students feel welcomed in an approach which puts wellbeing and the personal needs of the students at the core of their transition to post-primary school.
In a statement, Belinda Murphy said; “being a first year is such a big transition for these students. The go from being a big fish in a small pond to a small fish in a big pond. So many worries and anxieties are very natural to experience however with this Wellbeing Mentoring Programme, the first year students will have a designated mentor to help out and support them with this transition.”
Transition Year students were picked based on their natural innate mentoring traits including kindness, empathy, compassion, leadership and ability to think independently and they have received immersive mentoring training on teachable mentoring skills.
The programme continues in September with an ongoing support structure put in place to ensure the mentors are supported by Belinda Murphy, Guidance Counsellor, Deputy Principal and Principal of SMK. This support is paramount to ensuring the success of the programme as each mentor is a point of contact for the first year student, their issues, their questions, their anxieties.
The Deputy Principal, Andrew McNamara added “The vision of Scoil Mhuire is “to be a modern, inclusive and nurturing school where each student is empowered with the knowledge and skills for their future endeavours” and as such the wellbeing of the students in our care has always been at the core of what we do. Nurturing young adults can be challenging, however ensuring this post COVID can be even more so. Through this Mentoring Programme and Wellbeing Curricular courses facilitated by Belinda and the teachers of SMK we are putting the supports and skills in place to ensure our students can navigate these challenges developing healthy coping mechanisms, building resilience, and improving their overall emotional well-being.”
This Wellbeing Mentoring Programme is seen as another proactive initiative by SMK in the wellbeing of students which also includes incorporating Wellbeing and Mindfulness in the Junior, Transition and Senior cycle programmes, Meditation classes at lunch time and Wellbeing Workshops as an intrinsic part of Induction Day for all years.
Life has changed radically for us all post Covid and SMK recognises the impact on the mental and emotional health of their students and have now stepped up in providing more support in a tangible manner for the future generations.
For more information on School Wellness Programme, contact belinda@belindamurphy.com, Facebook and Instagram @belindamurphywellness. For enquiries to Scoil Mhuire Kanturk, www.scoilmhuirekanturk.ie, call (029) 50807.