Support and counselling
The philosophy of the St Mary’s careers and counselling centre encompasses a holistic and preventative approach. The highly qualified team consists of educational psychologists Heidi Burkhalter, Lara Rammutla and Carmen Whitfield and careers counsellor Lynn Moony . Parents and girls who require support or assistance are welcome to set up an appointment with any members of the team.
The team works closely with house mentors and the Life Orientation department to ensure the wellbeing of every girl. It provides emotional assessment and support, parent guidance and teacher support, and can assist with referrals to outside psychologists and other professionals where indicated.
Informative Muse Mornings are hosted in the Wantage auditorium during the term, where professionals are invited to discuss relevant parenting issues. Dates and topics are advertised in the newsletters and all parents are welcome and encouraged to attend.
You are invited to contact Heidi, Lynn, Carmen or Lara directly should you wish to make use of the resources available at The Open Door.
Tel: 011 531 1841
Tel: 011 531 1838
Tel: 011 531 1843
Tel: 011 531 1876
The peer counsellor forms an important part of the support and pastoral care structures at St Mary’s.
Each peer counsellor:
- Undergoes in-depth counselling training with Deborah Ashdowne and Associates
- Offers counselling and support to their peer group via one–on-one personal contact, SMS and email
- Runs projects in the school on issues that are relevant to the entire St Mary’s community
- Puts together assemblies targeting relevant friendship, social or community issues
- Helps to organise and maintain Forms I and V buddy system events throughout the year. This system pairs each Form I girl with a Form V girl to assist each new girl to adjust to Senior School life
- Raises funds and collects resources for a group of orphaned children in the North West Province
- Is approachable, caring and a good listener
- Maintains confidentiality
The peer counsellor contact details are on the noticeboard in the Chill Room and are also available in the Junior School. The peer counsellors have set up an office in the Pitt Block where girls are welcome to consult in a private, safe and welcoming space. There is a noticeboard at the office for girls to book slots at their convenience, and there will always be a peer counsellor ready to assist them.
Careers at St Mary’s
St Mary’s adopts a holistic approach to career education and development which involves an integrated learning programme in Life Orientation from Form I through to Form V. A large support team is available at the school who are involved in the development of this learning programme, together with individualised support at the school’s counselling and career centre. The Open Door team is headed by Heidi Burkhalter (educational psychologist), who works with Lara Rammutla and Carmen Whitfield (both educational psychologists) and Lynn Moony (careers assistant). Our aim as a team is to contribute towards the development of each young woman at St Mary’s such that she becomes in charge of her own future, has the power to make informed choices and is confident that she can navigate her way independently in the world of work which awaits her.
Self-awareness is introduced in Form I and explored in increasing depth until Form IV