1N Key transition points in the schooling years
The Settle Well Project
Geelong is a key settlement location within Victoria for newly arrived Refugees, with over half of this population being children and young people. These children arrive at school with varied experiences of learning. They also arrive with feelings of grief and loss, trauma, dislocation from culture and separation from families and friends, which can all significantly impact their capacity to transition and integrate into a school environment.
The Settle Well Project assists children to transition into school through case management support, therapeutic counselling and group programs. Two group programs that assist students to transition into their new school and the broader community are:
1. Justice Education Program
A protective factor that assists Refugees to ‘Settle Well’ is facilitated participation in education, training and employment. The Justice Education Program and L.I.V.E. are direct examples of facilitated participation in education which sets up the foundation for further training and employment.
The Justice Education Program is a collaboration with Geelong Magistrates Court aimed at orientating young people to many aspects of Australian culture. The participants are both refugee young people and local young people, which helps build a sense of community at school. The program covers the Australian legal system, Police and the community, multicultural communities, physical health and social media. The program is held at the Magistrates Court and the students are encouraged to ask questions of Court Registrars, Police, Lawyers, Magistrates and other Special Guests. Young people gain a better understanding on how to keep themselves out of the Justice System; they are better able to keep themselves, their families and other people safe online and they have a greater appreciation on how their current decisions will impact their future.
L.I.V.E. places the student’s core values at the centre of their learning. The program supports students to align their personal values with their learning goals and longer term aspirations. This process helps build their sense of self and their capacity to become active members of the school community. Students experience increased connectedness to education and improved physical health. When students are supported and encouraged to see themselves as active and competent learners, this builds resilience and gives students the skills to make positive transitions; not only in their education but in other aspects of their life as well.
Nestor is a Social Worker with extensive experience working with vulnerable people in Australia and the Philippines. Since 2013, Nestor has worked with CatholicCare Melbourne as a Counselor and Case Manager within the Settle Well project in Geelong, working closely with young people from refugee backgrounds.