At Santa Maria College we encourage respect, care and understanding of self and others. We strive to build and maintain a community which fosters the personal growth of all our members. The aim of our pastoral program is to provide an environment which enables our students to fulfil the College motto: Dare to do as much as you are able. The Pastoral Care Program, Ontos (‘to be’), seeks to live out the Benedictine values through College-based and external programs and is designed to support the holistic development of students’ wellbeing through an integrated exploration of relevant topics. Integral to Ontos, is respectful relationships and addresses the care of the student.

The pastoral care network involves all members of the school community. Structures have been set up to ensure that all our students are nurtured and supported. Every student is placed in a homeroom where a teacher is assigned with special responsibility for that particular group. The Homeroom Teacher works with their homeroom group throughout the year with the Ontos Program, leading students through reflection, dialogue and activities.

The Ontos Program is targeted to respond to the needs of students in each year level. A range of topics are covered dependent upon the age, context and needs of each cohort. Topics include, but are not restricted to, transition, friendships, cyber safety, resilience, mindfulness, conflict resolution, leadership and self-confidence.

Ontos is designed to recognise the unique qualities of every student and aims to provide each young woman with the specific academic and personal care required at the various stages of their schooling life. The Ontos Program focuses on developing resilience in individuals and enhancing self-awareness and self-assurance so that girls tackle challenges with maturity and confidence. Students will gain a greater sense of the importance of commitment, responsibility and self-reflection, understanding the notions of integrity and loyalty and how these may conflict.

Students work in small groups, as a cohort or as a homeroom whereby the Homeroom Teacher is a facilitator and activities are student oriented, which provide increased opportunities for interaction and exchange of ideas between students.