Students are engaged in the community in a number of ways including:
- Supporting ‘Western Port Community Support’s Feed the Paws and Help the Needy’ program. Students run events to ensure that every day, of every week, of every month, of every year, the food parcels people in our town receive also contain dog and/or cat food, so that those in need are not giving the (sometimes) only being they have to love and to love them, food meant for themselves.
- Students run a Fete each year to benefit people throughout the world suffering from natural disasters or war.
- Students run fundraisers for causes such as Breast Cancer Research, Legacy, local CFA brigades
- Students engage with the residents at the local nursing home
- The school choir regularly (three times per term) leads the singing during Sunday Mass
- Students participate in beautifying the town programs in partnership with local businesses, e.g. along High St.
- The school has a strong presence during the Western Port Festival parade each year, with many students, their siblings, parents and staff marching to show their support of the town.
- Students and staff strongly support ANZAC and Remembrance Day ceremonies each year via their attendance, reverence and respect.
Linking Schools and Early Years (LSEY)
The most important period of a person’s life developmentally is the first 5 years. If appropriate development takes place here, there is a likelihood that a person will achieve their potential and their happiness and life chances will be greatly enhanced.
To this end, the Linking Schools and Early Years (LSEY) partnership was formed in Hastings in late 2007. The aims of the LSEY partnership were and remain that:
- Children and families make a smooth transition between early years services and school
- Early years services and schools form active partnerships with families
- Early years services and schools are responsive to the individual learning needs of all children.
The LSEY partnership involves all Hastings’ primary schools, kindergartens and long day child care services, Good Shepherd Youth and Family Service, Peninsula Heath Community Health, Biala Peninsula, Mornington Peninsula Playgroups, Monash University, Hastings Rotary Club, the school nurse, and in fact every organization whose primary interest is young children (0-8 years) and their families.
The project was initially led and overseen by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Our goal is to work collaboratively, as a group, for the benefit of all Hastings’ children, not just those at our own schools or services, in order to improve the readiness of children to engage effectively with the curriculum and with each other.
Many strategies have been employed by LSEY in order to achieve our goal, most within Hastings early years services and the first years of primary school. One strategy that is aimed at slightly older students, usually those in grades 2-4, is the Reading for Life program. With the support of the Western Port Catholic Parish, The Rali Foundation, local businesses, Hastings Rotary Club, Monash University, and many local volunteers, this program has proved to be an exceptionally effective strategy in supporting students who need a little extra assistance.
When we commenced as a partnership in 2007, we in the LSEY partnership knew that it takes a village to raise the child. In the years since, we have learnt that when a village takes on the responsibility of raising a child, the whole village gains.
St Mary’s Engines Program
Volunteers from Hastings Rotary Club run a small engines program, using motor mower engines, with senior school students at St Mary’s. Each year approximately three small group courses are run enabling all grade five and six students to participate in one of their senior years. The students learn about the various systems of engines, how to fault find, and how to take engines apart and put them back together again- sometimes with very few bits left over!