During their 12-day stay at Stewart House, children are provided with medical, dental and optometric assessment and treatment. For children requiring additional support, counselling is available. This is balanced with health and education programs and out of school activities to boost their self-esteem and promote better physical and mental health. These services are provided free of charge to over 1700 public school children a year who attend this unique facility.
The health and wellbeing team at Stewart House includes our two Student Wellbeing Managers (one a Clinical Psychologist), a Health Liaison Officer and a Student Placements Officer. This team directly supports the children’s wellbeing during their stay and provides advice and assistance to our residential supervisors and school teachers. We also have a registered nurse position funded through the Northern Sydney Local Health District of NSW Department of Health. The nurse’s role is to perform hearing screening, asthma checks, personal hygiene and dietary education for the visiting children and to ensure they remain healthy throughout their stay. If any concerns are identified, parents/carers are contacted and a report will be sent home to the parent/carer outlining any treatments that occurred as well as any recommendations for further care.
Children may also receive a referral to Go4Fun. Go4Fun is a free healthy lifestyle program for children aged 7-13 years with a focus on healthy eating and getting active.
The Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) Aboriginal Health Service (Bungee Bidgel Aboriginal Health Clinic) assists with health screenings for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children at Stewart House. Children who are identified as needing further health screening or treatment are then referred to health care service providers in the child’s Local Health District.
During their twelve-day stay children also have the opportunity to receive a free dental assessment and a dental health education program. The Dental Team at Stewart House is funded through the Northern Sydney Local Health District of NSW Department of Health. If children require emergency care or pain relief they are treated at Mona Vale or Brookvale Dental Clinic after further conversation with parents and carers. Children requiring further treatment are referred to Dental Clinics close to their home. NSW Health staff contact parents and caregivers to arrange free of charge treatment.
The School of Optometry and Vision Science at the University of NSW continue to provide vision assessment for all children visiting Stewart House. Final year students conduct the screenings. Staff optometrists of the University of NSW assist the students by providing guidance and supervision. The optometric assessment provides a thorough and comprehensive visual examination including measurement of the children’s acuity, determination of any refractive error, assessment of how well the eyes work and move together, a test of colour and vision and eye health examination. Where the assessment reveals that a child has a visual problem a letter is sent home to parents and carers suggesting an appropriate course of action. The children may be in need of a pair of glasses, the guidance for eye exercises to improve the way eyes work together, colour vision treatment or a program for general improvement in eye health. All children in need of prescription glasses are assessed and the Teachers Health fund provide glasses or new lenses free of charge.
Children receive a hearing check at Stewart House by Nurses employed by the NSW Department of Health. Identified children who need further testing are assessed by Masters students of Clinical Audiology from the Macquarie University and treatment arranged.
Stewart House Program
The Stewart House Program, which includes the school and residential components is underpinned by the Stewart House Wellbeing Framework. The Stewart House Program integrates a curriculum, used by teachers and supervisors alike, that is based upon trauma informed practice, student engagement and a strengths- based approach. Quality teaching practices and research-based teaching and learning pedagogies are an integral part of the program that is delivered.
The following diagram provides an overview of the Stewart House Program and illustrates the relationship with the Stewart House Wellbeing Framework.
Health Screening and Self-care skills are provided to ensure students receive preventative health care to enable positive health outcomes into the future.
Healthy, Safe and Active Experiences relate to the extent to which students feel physically safe and healthy. It includes nutrition, physical activity and physical safety and security.
Social and Emotional Learning are interrelated:
- Social learning includes the extent to which we experience positive relationships and connectedness to others. It is important for pro-social behaviour and our empathy toward others;
- Emotional learning relates to self-awareness and emotional regulation. It includes how well we cope, and is often reflected by the level of a person’s resilience. Emotional wellbeing is in part informed by our capacity for self-reflection.
Experiential learning provides students with off-site activities and is key to developing experiences in which to apply the skills taught inside classrooms and cabins and to receive feedback from students in a comfortable, in-formal and safe environment.
The relationships fostered between children and staff are key to the skills being able to be taught – students are more receptive and retain more. A planned approach with clear and predictable boundaries and consequences and scope for choice, is essential in establishing a safe environment for learning.
The delivery of concepts and skills within the program are modified to suit the context of particular individuals and groups. This ensures the same outcomes are attained by all students progressing at different levels of learning.
At the end of the 12-day program students should be able to:
OUTCOME 1 – Participate in healthy, safe and active experiences
OUTCOME 2 – Label emotions, identify their own emotions, regulate emotions using three basic strategies
OUTCOME 3 – Understand themselves and their interactions with their environment
OUTCOME 4 – Build appropriate social connections
Stewart House Wellbeing Framework
The Stewart House Wellbeing Framework includes Physical Wellbeing and Social and Emotional Wellbeing. Students participating in the Stewart House Program will experience screening, teaching and experiential learning opportunities to reinforce learned skills in the outlined areas. The concepts we teach children come from this developmental framework and are built from the basics to the more complex according to need. Skills are embedded within the program with the intention that students are able to draw upon and utilise them after upon their return to school.
- Screen, treat or refer in regards to:
- skin and hair
- Body Mass Index
- Develop personal skills including:
- general hygiene with emphasis on oral hygiene
- sun protection,
- dressing appropriately
Activity and Safety
- Engage in structured and unstructured exercise and play
- Understand personal safety
SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL WELLBEING
Connecting with Others:
- Improve social skills
- Develop connections to form positive relationships
- Provide pathways to seek help
- Develop help seeking skills
- Understand personal strengths and weaknesses, feelings, thoughts and actions (internal)
- Recognise effect of actions on others (external)
- Develop resilience and self-control
- Build capacity to manage emotions by:
- labelling thoughts and emotions
- using regulation strategies