ARIS has a fully functional Counseling and Support Department headed by Dr. Funke Baffour-Awuah, available to all students, staff, and parents for all academic and emotional wellbeing support. The Primary and Secondary campuses also have two Personalised Learning Coordinators (Special Educational Needs Coordinators) (SENCOs), who look after all aspects of personalized learning for all students, including PLD/SEN and Gifted and Talented students.
The Counseling and Support department plays an integral role in all developments within the ARIS Community by collaborating and cooperating with School leadership, administrators, teachers, staff, parents, and other professionals to ensure that all learners have the opportunity to thrive at ARIS. In 2019, the department, under Dr. Funke has also spearheaded an ARIS Wellbeing Model that collaborates with all departments to prioritize student as well as staff wellbeing, through workshops, socio-emotional counseling, talks, and podcasts. ARIS believes in a 360 approach, whereby in order to succeed academically and professionally, one has to prioritize personal and emotional wellbeing.
This has been woven into the timetable operations within ARIS through the PSHE (Personal Social and Health Education) curriculum which is organized for all classes at the Secondary campus throughout the week to initiate dialogue on topics that need to be covered for a more holistic understanding of human development. The PSHE aims to:
- equip students with practical skills to live healthy, safe, productive and responsible lives
- support students in confidently making transitions as they grow through the stages of adolescence
- teach personal wellbeing, social and health education, including sex education, and the social and emotional aspects of learning
- encourage positive attitudes to learning
- enable students to reflect on and clarify their own values and attitudes while being conscious of the sometimes complex and conflicting values and attitudes encountered elsewhere.
What is the relationship between PSHE and personal development?
Young people’s personal and social development is a fundamental aspect of education. Personal development is enhanced as students develop the skills they need to grow and develop as individuals and responsible members of society. All aspects of a young person’s experience at home, in school and out of school, contribute to personal and social development. It is a function of all subjects and curriculum areas.
PSHE contributes to personal development by helping students build their personal identities, confidence and self-esteem, make tentative career choices and understand what influences their decisions, including financial ones. It enables them to recognize, accept and shape their identities, to understand, accommodate and tolerate difference and change, to manage their emotions and to communicate constructively in a variety of settings. Developing an understanding of themselves, empathy and the ability to work with others will help students to form and maintain good relationships, and better enjoy and manage their lives.
Recognizing that therapy and wellbeing can occur through various creative mediums as every human being expresses themselves uniquely, ARIS also has a running Art Therapy programme that is facilitated by Ms. Sarah Wilson, where Art can be channeled for therapeutic purposes.
Sarah Wilson attended Arcadia University in Pennsylvania where she received her bachelor's in art and psychology. Afterward, she received her master's at Pratt Institute in NYC where she studied Art Psychotherapy and Creative Development. She is currently a licensed board-certified art therapist and has been practicing in the field for the past ten years. In the meantime, Ms. Wilson enjoyed traveling, being outdoors, reading and researching.