There’s a sense of magic when you enter a Carinity Education school. It’s hard to put your finger on. You can see it just by watching the staff and students interacting.
Travel to any of its five schools across Queensland – in Townsville, Rockhampton, Gladstone, Hervey Bay and Brisbane – and you will feel uplifted by the tremendous impact of Carinity Education upon young people’s lives.
Part of the Carinity Education magic is created through the integration of youth workers into the classroom to support students and the specialist teachers. Integrating youth workers in the classroom has been a Carinity Education approach since its first school, Southside, opened 25 years ago.
Carinity Education Southside Principal, Leann Faint, says youth workers at the all-girls school “support the students and the teachers during learning”.
“This might require some soothing, or some encouraging, or some hurdle-help if they are having trouble getting started,” Leann says.
“Our youth workers create a secure base or safe haven for our young people. By creating strong relationships with the students, the youth workers become someone that can get in alongside them and help them to regulate their emotions when they are feeling sad, angry or anxious.”
Fulfilling a vital role by contributing to the success of students’ academic and personal achievements, school youth workers wear many hats.
This ranges from driving the school’s dedicated buses, running youth programs and coaching sports teams, to encouraging students back to school when they have disengaged from their learning or had a period of absence.
“I like to sit in with most of the classes to help support our young people with their schoolwork and build their academic confidence,” says Mackenzie Dalgliesh, a youth worker at Carinity Education Southside.
“I love helping young people feel comfortable to share in class, ask questions and be confident in their academic abilities.
“By taking the time to listen to a young person’s needs, anxieties or worries about school, it not only helps them to feel heard and understood, but it also helps me to create an environment where they can thrive academically.”