Parent forum explores what makes a life worth living

Parents of students at Catholic schools across the Illawarra gathered on Saturday to workshop ideas on how children can find meaning in their lives.

The full-day parent conference, organised by the Diocese of Wollongong, addressed the tough topic through guest speakers and workshops that helped parents create strategies to support the social and emotional development of their child, understand how Catholic social teachings are discussed at school and teach their kids about the responsible use of technology.

Speakers included social researcher and author Hugh Mackay and Jesuit priest and educator Father Richard Leonard.

Tim Gilmour, spokesman for the Wollongong Catholic Education Office, said about 120 people attended the conference, the first one held by the area’s Parent Forum.

He said the day was held to address the needs of parents in the school community.

‘‘There’s a lot of talk about results and NAPLAN and academic achievement and one of the things parents were concerned about was to ensure there was a balanced view on other aspects of young people’s growing up and their development physically, spiritually, emotionally and socially,’’ he said.

‘‘Schools aren’t just about academic achievement, we talk about developing the whole child.’’

Mr Gilmour said he had received positive feedback about the different workshops, particularly those on cyber-bullying and creating practical strategies to help children build resilience and confidence.


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