Like many youngsters of his day, Marcellin Champagnat did not attend school regularly; the French Revolution wreaked havoc on civic life in that period. Although gifted with natural intelligence, Marcellin’s lack of formal education caused him to struggle as a seminarian. From those difficulties sprang his educational philosophy,
“To educate children you must love them and love them all equally.”The Marist Brothers (http://www.maristbr.com/our-marist-founder.php)
This Golden Rule for Marist Educators (In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat) forms the cornerstone for Pastoral Care at Marist College Ashgrove.
From Champagnat’s educational philosophy flows the particular characteristics of the Marist style of educating: presence, simplicity, family spirit, love of work, and following the way of Mary (In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat).
Whilst all five pillars are important in the overall education of young people, presence is central to our approach to Pastoral Care, because as Marists (In the Footsteps of Marcellin Champagnat):
- We educate above all through being present to young people in ways that show that we care for them personally. We make time for them beyond merely professional contacts, getting to know each one individually. We seek to establish relationships with them, founded on love, which create a climate for learning in an educational setting, for passing on values, and for personal growth.
- We seek to immerse ourselves in the lives of the young. We create opportunities to become involved in their lives, and welcome them into ours. In school ministry, we seek to extend our presence through free-time, leisure, sports and cultural activities, or whatever means offer themselves.
- Our way of being present in institutional settings seeks to be neither obsessively vigilant nor negligently laissez-faire. In a respectful way, we try to be firm and demanding with them, while remaining optimistic and focused on their personal growth.
- Through our way of being attentive and welcoming, of listening and engaging them in relevant and appropriate dialogue, we earn the trust of young people and foster their openness.
- Wherever we are, we undertake to build community. Each person should feel at home among us. A warmth of welcome, acceptance and belonging should prevail where everyone has a sense of being valued and believed in, regardless of their role or their social standing.
Pastoral Care at Marist College Ashgrove embraces more than the giving of well prepared, thought provoking and stimulating lessons. It means being concerned for the total wellbeing of students, and with the development of the whole person. The philosophies underpinning pastoral care, the active pursuit of programs and practices aimed at promoting and supporting wellbeing and school ethos, the climate and atmosphere in which students and staff learn and work, are complementary and are reflected in the College Identity Framework. (Guidelines for Pastoral Care in Catholic Schools)
Through explicit Pastoral Care philosophies, programs and practices we hope to educate young men in the way of Marcellin Champagnat so that they have the courage and confidence to develop traits similar to those modelled by Marcellin himself as outlined in the Being section of the College’s Identity Framework.
Pastoral Care is a strong feature of the College’s support of students. Students are guided by their Heads of House, their pastoral group teacher, their boarding supervisors, curriculum leaders and their teachers. Two counsellors are also available to support students.