Psycho-Social Team

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Introduction by the Head College Network, Mr Patrick Decelis

“Maria Regina College intends to offer the best education possible.  This is not possible if the basic needs are not being seen to.  This is not possible if certain challenging behaviour is not taken care of, or if family problems create an internal imbalance.

Members of the Maria Regina College psycho-social team support students in our schools to help them come to terms with any problems encountered and therefore be receptive and calm enough to make good use of the educational opportunities offered.  Respect for all, good behaviour and other similar issues are seen to.

Other members of the Psycho-social team work on one of the main ideas of the Mission Statement of the Ministry of Education, i.e. educating for employability. Still others offer various informal and non-formal activities and opportunities for a truly holistic education.”

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School Psychological Service

The School Psychological Service (SPS) strives to promote a healthy psycho-educational environment that facilitates the learning and development of children in IMG_1831school. At SPS we provide a range of services which aim to help children and young people who might be experiencing difficulties within the educational setting. Students that are referred to our service can benefit from the support of a team of Educational and Clinical Psychologists, who through individual and systemic interventions with families, school personnel, as well as community agencies, aim to assist children and adolescents with their emotional, social and academic development and growth. Some of the core services offered by SPS are:

  • ​Psycho-educational Assessment
  • Consultation services for parents and school staff.
  • Interventions to help students in their learning learning and development.
  • Provision of support to children with special educational needs including: physical and/or intellectual disabilities; specific learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia, dyspraxia); emotional and/or behavioural difficulties, communication difficulties (e.g. autism), visual and/or hearing impairments, giftedness, etc.
  • Assessment and report-writing in relation to special educational provision (e.g. ‘statementing’, examination access arrangements).
  • Liaising with other child-support services within the Department’s Psycho-social Section and with agencies and organisations external to the Department.

Dr Andrew Borg, B.Psy (Hons), D. Ed Child Psy. (Lond.)                        e andrew.borg.3@ilearn.edu.mt     t 25986511

Mr Nicholas Psaila, B Sc (Hons) Psy, MA Early Years (Sheffield); MSc (Hons); Abnormal and Clinical Psychology (Swansea); MPsy (Ed) (Melit) e nicholas.psaila@ilearn.edu.mt     t 25986511

Head of Department – Prefect of Discipline

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The HoD – College Prefect of Discipline collaborates with the schools and with other professionals and external entities with the aim of providing needed services in relation to behavioural difficulties, thus promoting positive discipline based on the principle of reciprocal respect.  Discipline is a process of learning by the student that requires understanding, time and patience, teaches problem solving, builds a positive self-image and develops long term self-control and cooperation. The main role of the Prefect of Discipline is to identify as early as possible students who manifest challenging behaviour and planning an intervention to improve behaviour; Provide support to educators; Prevent challenging behaviour through establishing healthy relationships with students, school staff and parents; Carry out observations in schools to determine and evaluate the working of the schools. A College Prefect of Discipline does her best to understand the personality, needs and family situation of each student so as to be able to provide the best support and holistic education for each individual.

Ms Louise Tabone M.Ed. SEBD (Birmingham)                  e louise.tabone@ilearn.edu.mt    t 25986525

Counselling Services

The Counselling Services are offered by the Principal Education Support Practitioners – Counsellors, Ms Stephanie Ciantar Cassar and Mr Benjamin Calleja and the Trainee Counsellors Ms Nicolette Schembri and Ms Sonya Galea. Their role involves delivering counselling services in schools within the college. The team works together with the students “…with the aim of providing them with opportunities to explore, clarify, and work towards living in a more personally satisfying and resourceful way…” (Hoxter, 1998, p. 29).

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Common issues dealt with include, difficulties in making and maintaining friends, bereavement, fears, traumas, life transitions, anger, negative emotions due to bullying, separation and other life circumstances.

           Counselling Services include:

  • Carry out one to one counselling sessions
  • Carry out group counselling sessions
  • Carry out case reviewing between counsellor and trainee counsellor
  • Carry out case reviewing between counsellor and guidance teacher
  • Attend regular supervision sessions to enhance a better service
  • Attend local and foreign seminars and conferences to sustain our continual professional development
  • Attend National and Inter-College Meetings to both sustain our continual professional development and share good practices
  • Counsellor introduces internal and external speakers during monthly College Meetings to sustain our continual professional development
  • Carry out monthly School Meetings with guidance teachers to address school issues
  • Transition Programmes – Home/Kinder; Kinder/Primary; Primary/Secondary; Secondary/beyond Form 5
  • Offer parenting skills programmes to parents and guardians

Mr Benjamin Calleja M. Couns. (Melit.), B.Psy. (Hons):              e benjamin.calleja@ilearn.edu.mt   t 25986521

Ms Stephanie Ciantar Cassar M. Couns. (Melit.), B.Psy. (Hons): e stephanie.d.cassar@gov.mt  t 25986524

Ms Nicolette Schembri M.T.Couns. (Melit.), B.Psy. (Hons)                                                nicolette.schembri@gov.mt     t 25986524

Ms Sonya Galea B.A. (Hons) PG Dip. Sys. Psych.                                                            e sonya.galea@gov.mt     t 25986527

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Career Guidance Services

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Mr Giosue’ Pianciamore, Principal Education Support Practitioner – Career Advisor,  is in charge of the Career Guidance Department. Together with Ms Anthea Vella, Trainee Career Advisor, guide students to make the best decision in relation to careers, subject choice and post-secondary courses.

They work on projects, including the Year 6 to Form 1 transition exercise, in which year 6 students visit their prospective secondary school and start thinking on which subjects they would like to choose at secondary level. The Job Exposure initiative is another project which is carried out with Form 4 students. This initiative provides students with an opportunity to observe employees at work in various places for one week.

Other career guidance projects include visits to post-secondary educational institutions, work places and school based career talks delivered by professionals.

Moreover, he offers student career advisory services daily, within Mosta Girls’ and Boys’ Secondary Schools. This service may be related to concerns about studying, post-secondary course options, CV Building, interview skills and job searching skills.

Mr Giosue’ Pianciamore, M.A. (Guidance Studies) B.Psy (Hons)   giosue.pianciamore@gov.mt         t 25986526

Ms Anthea Vella, B. Psych (Hons)                                                                                      e anthea.vella.3@ilearn.edu.mt        t 25986526

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Social Work Department

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The Social Work Team, led by Ms Mandy Fenech and Ms Adriana Grech Castillo, within Maria Regina College is committed to provide an effective social work service to students of compulsory school age who are habitually absent from school. We support the students’ educational and personal growth by working within the students’ family and social environment.

The social support worker, Ms Charlene Agius works in close collaboration with the College multi-disciplinary team, Directorate for Educational Services, and other professionals employed both within other government departments and non-Governmental Organisations. This ensures the maximum utilization of resources for the benefits of the students.

Services Offered :

■Providing links between the school and home through social work intervention with habitually absent students, their families and school staff.

■Supporting and guiding students on personal, social and family matters that are affecting their school attendance and educational achievement.

■Ensuring that the law on compulsory education is adhered to by parents, keeping track of truant pupils and addressing issues that are leading to absenteeism.

■Preparing and presenting social reports for, and participating in, Education Tribunal Sittings, and the Juvenile Court.

The Social Workers’ role is dealing with absenteeism both in primary and secondary schools. Currently priority is being given to primaries since working on prevention is the best way in dealing with secondary absenteeism.

Students can be referred to the College Social Work Service by the school authorities, family or other parties. Students can also refer themselves.

Ms Mandy Xerri M.A. (Human Rights), BA (Social Work)                                                  e mandy.xerri@gov.mt    t 25986523,

Ms Adriana Grech Castillo B.A. (Hons) (Soc. Wrk) (Melit.)                                              e e adriana.grech.castillo@ilearn.edu.mt     25986528,  and

Ms Charlene Agius, B. Tech. Dip. (Health & Social Care)                                                 e charlene.agius@gov.mt, t 25986523

Early Intervention Service

The Early Intervention Service aims to provide a family centered and comprehensive support system for children with developmental disabilities or delays in the first five years (0-5) of life. The principle is to minimize the delays and maximize the chances of reaching typical milestones in development. It also supports and implements screening procedures to increase the early identification of difficulties and provide the family support as early as possible to families.

Eligibility to service

Open referral system i.e. parents, carers, educators and professionals can refer to Early Intervention Service.

Children aged 0-5 years who are in homes, child care centres,  kindergarten 1 and 2 and may show/ have:

  1. Developmental delay in two or more areas of development e.g. cognitive, motor, communication, social emotional and self-help skills.
  2. A typical development who demonstrate patterns of development which are different from their peers e.g. Autism, Specific Language Impairment.
  3. Medically diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay e.g. spina bifida.

Services offered

  • Assessment and Intervention in the child’s natural environment
  • The Early Intervention team helps parents and educators in the planning and application of an educational programme tailored to the child’s needs.
  • Support groups and workshops for parents supporting children with various needs
  • Group therapy in different areas involving both children and parents/carers
  • Support in IEPs and transitions
  • Whole school approach targeting a school inclusion programme
  • Support and training provision to early years educators as continuous professional development
  • Screening assessment
  • Attendance in case conferences of children undergoing assessment at the CDAU and providing an educational report

Maria Regina Early Intervention Team Members

Michelle Camilleri –  Principal Education Support Practitioner                            Michelle Mifsud –  Education Support Practitioner – Resource Worker
Carolyn Finocchiaro – Early Intervention Teacher

Conclusion

Last but not least, each member of this team works in tandem with each other and with other professionals within the College and the Department of Student Services to offer their services to students’ families, school, national and external entities with the aim of improving the student’s holistic development.  All our services are offered throughout the scholastic year as well as during the summer months.   Whilst offering our services throughout the scholastic year, one may reach us also at our main office found at: Maria Regina College Administration Centre, Triq l-Inkurunazzjoni, Mosta or on telephone number 25986508.