Wellbeing in Schools
Wellbeing has been elevated alongside learning as one of the two core goals of Victoria's school system and a $200 million mental health program is underway.
Mooroolbark College have taken a bold step towards supporting their students with the opening of the new Student Wellbeing and Learning Centre located right at the heart of their school. Minx Architecture worked with the school community to create the new space within a repurposed building that formerly housed the administration wing.
The leadership team wanted to centralise all of the student support services in one facility. Within the wellness and learning centre spaces are provided for unstructured and structured learning, passive study and support services.
Students are able to use the new spaces in a variety of ways. It provides a quiet space to chill out, areas for private study that are less structured that a traditional library space, a kitchen and dining space for break time and conversation, links to the outside and a connection to nature. Each of the settings included in the facility support a sense of wellbeing and have been deliberately incorporated into the design to foster a sense of welcome.
The centre also contains the house leaders offices. The house structure sees the students and staff grouped vertically and in House groups Baan (Blue) House, Biik (Red) House, Ngawan (Yellow) House and Darrang (Green) House for pastoral programs and activities to support and implement aspects of the College’s pastoral care program .
The college worked with students parents and staff to ensure the Mooroolbark College is an inclusive environment for all of their community and to acknowedge their links with Australia's first nations people.
Using the Woi wurrung language the College adopted the following house names;
Baan (Water) Blue House – The waterways signify the creek systems that surround Mooroolbark, representing the students and their journeys to this place and once they leave this place into adulthood .
Darrang (Tree) Green House – The tree reflects the connection of the school on Wurundjeri country .
Ngawan (Sun) Yellow House – The Sun represents resilience, nurturing and all-encompassing acceptance .
Biik (Earth) Red House – Rich red earth is the foundation for our connection to country .
House leaders and Cluster leaders are responsible for the wellbeing and progress of students within the house/cluster group that they lead and for the pastoral care of the students in their House/Cluster Group as they progress from Year 7 through to Year 12.
Mooroolbark College have thought deeply about what it means to be supported in their community. Their wellness and learning centre provides support, recognition and a sense of belonging at the heart of their College. Sometimes Architecture is much more than buildings.