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Buddy program helps newcomers flourish


A buddy program that links each Reception child with a Year 12 student has proved a resounding success in fostering a ‘sense of belonging’ for the newer members of the Mercedes College community.

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The program is an important part of the Springfield college’s commitment to ensuring the youngest members of the school feel welcome and supported from day one.

Besides the buddy system, the Reception students have access to the college’s impressive resources and specialist French, PE, Art and Music teachers. Their learning environments, both inside the classroom and beyond, are designed to stimulate and promote a ‘lifelong love of learning, curiosity, wellbeing, friendship and community’.

“The school community here at Mercedes is unique,” said college principal Andrew Balkwill.

“When we have our orientation walks our staff speak to the parents, but it’s our students who flourish on tour, as there is no one more qualified to talk about all that makes Mercedes special than our own students.”

Mr Balkwill said Mercedes was delighted to be part of the South Australian Commission for Catholic Schools’ initiative which is waiving Term 3 and 4 fees for 2021 mid-year Reception enrolments.

“This intake caters for children with birthdays from May 1 to October 31 and allows them to adapt to school at their own pace in a supportive and positive environment, attending either three, four or five days a week,” he said.

“The mid-year intake offers such a wonderful springboard for young students by easing them into the school environment.

“Our Primary Years Program and inquiry-based approach to learning have been developed to help children transitioning between Kindergarten and Reception by encouraging curiosity through play-based activities.

“This helps develop a strong sense of identity among all the children, as well as an essential foundation in literacy and numeracy. It also helps them feel more confident in their new environment and we then see many of them mentoring and supporting new Reception students the following year.”

Mr Balkwill invited families to attend an orientation walk, view the college facilities first hand and chat with staff and students about their experiences. Upcoming tours are on June 23 and July 31.

For more information or to book a tour visit or phone 8372 3200.


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