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12 Angus Ave
Edwardstown, SA, 5039

(08) 8378 6800

2018 Newsletter Edition 1


Kerryn Coombs


compliments bags

Lisa Peterson, the SMG Pastoral Care Worker at Long Street Primary School in Whyalla, developed an innovative idea to help nine middle and upper primary classes.

Peterson, Lisa - Long Street PS.jpg

“I put together a lesson plan with the school counsellor to teach the students about compliments, and then gave them all bags to decorate with their name. We stuck them on a board, and on small pieces of paper, they wrote compliments to each other.  Each day they chose different classmates to write a compliment about, and at the end of the day, they got to check their bags to see all the nice things that others had said about them. Students were given new words and ideas that were positive in nature, and not negative. They looked for good things to say, rather than negative things, helping to change their thinking and the way they looked at others. 

This simple and innovative approach has had a positive impact with the students, and other teachers at the school want to adopt the ‘compliments bag’ idea for their classes. The students have been empowered and have improved their capabilities and connection with their peers. The most notable change as a result of this program has been a significant improvement in their relationships, especially with their language, and it has promoted respectful and meaningful interactions in the playground.”  

Long Street Primary has only had a PCW for 12 months, after successfully applying for NSCP funds. Staff have seen the changes in the school already saying, “Lisa has been a great support for staff, children and families from what I have seen. She has been doing fantastic activities with students to try and promote a positive change. Positive relationships with students has improved student learning and wellbeing”.

Your generous donation to School Chaplaincy has a significant impact helping students to build positive relationships with their peers rather than negative ones that lead to poor behaviour and bullying.


Kerryn Coombs


above: Alison Reidy, PCW with students Blake, Billy and Sid

above: Alison Reidy, PCW with students Blake, Billy and Sid

Billy, a student at Glenelg Primary School, regularly goes to the lunchtime table tennis program. “I started last year; I enjoyed it. You get to spend more time with people and bond with them when you play. I play with some of my friends sometimes and I also play with new people and teach them how to play.”

students playing lunchtime table tennis

The program started a few years ago and is now managed by SMG Pastoral Care Worker Alison Reidy and local volunteer Allan Richards, along with the support of school staff. Alison says, “The program provides students with an activity which has a positive impact on their wellbeing, gives confidence in trying and participating in a non-contact sport, builds friendships, encourages sharing and teaches leadership.”

Glenelg Primary School Deputy Principal Anthony Fischer acknowledges that support from the local community is vital and the contribution that PCW Alison and volunteers like Allan make at Glenelg Primary are important.

“It is fantastic to give kids a chance to excel in areas they wouldn’t otherwise get the opportunity. As a result of these activities we see increased self-esteem and engagement. Because they are able to join in, they feel good about it – and being successful transfers through to academics in the classroom.”

Your generous donation to School Chaplaincy helps PCWs like Alison support and pastorally care for students, staff and families at their schools.


Kerryn Coombs


above: Volunteers, Juanita, Bronwyn and Val, PCW Vicki Woods and Church Minister Ben Carbone

above: Volunteers, Juanita, Bronwyn and Val, PCW Vicki Woods and Church Minister Ben Carbone

At a recent assembly to officially open the newly refurbished North Haven Primary STEM facility, SMG Pastoral Care Worker Vicki Woods and volunteers from The Port Church, LeFevre Uniting, Soulspace Christian Community and Semaphore Lutheran welcomed Hon. Susan Close Education Minister, school staff, students, parents, and extended family members with barista coffee and a delicious morning tea to celebrate.

Volunteers play an important role at North Haven Primary, and during the year are involved in leading the school choir, mentoring, school canteen, listening to children read and many other activities. They are currently exploring the possibility of running a breakfast club to support students coming to school hungry. Principal Peter Allison is appreciative of Vicki’s role and the connection she has to community volunteers, “Schools need to connect with other local community organisations. We are in an age where parents are time poor and it is becoming more and more difficult to call on parents to volunteer and support our many events throughout the year.”


Kerryn Coombs


Graham and Lynn.png

SMG Patron Rev Dr Lynn Arnold AO and SMG Chairperson Mr Graham Brown are advocating for the continued federal funding of School Chaplains through the National School Chaplaincy Programme (NSCP). Will you join them and write a letter to Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham, Federal Education Minister in support of the vital service School Chaplaincy provides in your local school and region.

You can also get involved by posting your picture on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #thumbsupforschoolchaplaincy, and tag key Federal MPs

Facebook: @TurnbullMalcolm @Birmo @ScottMorrisonMP 

Twitter: @malcolmturnbull  @simonbirmingham @scottmorrison4cook

Instagram: @TurnbullMalcolm @scottmorrisonmp


Kerryn Coombs


“I have been honoured to be asked to serve as Patron of SMG. Through close contact over a number of years with the SMG team, I have been able to observe them at work in schools and in the community. I have always been impressed by their sense of calling, their passion for pastoral care and their belief in the capacity to make a difference in the lives of those under stress or anxiety.” 

“The focus of SMG is on students and the work of its Pastoral Care Workers in schools for over twenty five years has been widely respected, as its continued growth attests; in addition, the wider communities in which SMG-supported schools are located have also benefited from the work of the SMG team. In an age when there are so many negative threats and pressures in our school communities and the wider community, SMG is an important part in helping build resilience and self-confidence.” 


Kerryn Coombs

Gap Fillers and Bridge Builders

School Chaplains fill the gap between loneliness and isolation from family breakdown or school bullying...and community connectedness and care. Between what teachers want to give pastorally to students...and what they can actually deliver in the time available. Between formal counselling sessions with the School Counsellor or Psychologist. Between the silence of being ignored or overlooked...and being heard, uninterrupted, for more than 60 seconds. Between what we say to our young people about character and values...and what we do and model to them.

School Chaplains provide little gap fillers (a smile, an encouraging word, an opportunity provided) and big gap fillers (a soft place to fall in tragedy, a caring church community’s resources, ongoing support through some critical school years).

Angela SMG Executive Director.jpg

School Chaplains provide little gap fillers (a smile, an encouraging word, an opportunity provided) and big gap fillers (a soft place to fall in tragedy, a caring church community’s resources, ongoing support through some critical school years). School Chaplains are in demand by schools. More schools want the service than can be supplied. Schools want them for more hours. Some school leaders say that School Chaplains “add soul to our school”.

The former Prime Minister John Howard (who initiated the NSCP program funding 10 years ago), recently said, “…clearly the driving force behind this program and its great success has been the spiritual commitment of individuals.”

On 8 May this year the Federal government will announce whether it will continue funding for the NSCP. Please pray for this vital service to be funded again.

Who will fill the gaps and build the bridges if there is no funding for School Chaplains? What can you do or give to support and fund the gap fillers?