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Boarding and Pastoral Care at Kilgraston - an interview with the new Head of the department

Mrs Muller chats about her new role at the School


Mrs Sonja Mueller is Head of Pastoral Care and Boarding at Kilgraston School. She combines her many years’ experience as a social worker, coupled with being a qualified teacher, to give the very best emotional, psychological and academic support to every girl in her care…

““Every child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about her.” So said Urie Bronfenbrenner, the eminent, Russian-born, American psychologist.

I think this is an excellent maxim and one to which I strongly adhere. I try to be that ‘irrationally crazy’ adult to every child in my care, believing in their potential, encouraging them to be the best that they can be in every area of their development.

Boarding staff work as a collegiate, looking after all the girls from age eight to eighteen. Being a good role model is vital; we are all very aware that we need to lead by example. Displaying kindness, patience, respect, flexibility and a good sense of humour, with lots of recognition and praise, ensures that Boarding is always enjoyable.

I love spending time with the girls after a busy school day, providing support, being alert to any concerns, as well as celebrating their daily successes. It is important to me that all of the girls are always happy and achieve their full potential.

I live on site, so am very accessible to the girls. When they live at the School – or stay on a flexible arrangement, giving a great balance of family and school time – they can make use of the School’s extensive facilities. In the evenings, there is lots of coming and going with different activities and sports. Afterwards, the boarding houses seem to relax and unwind. Everyone has studying to do but there is always someone on hand to offer assistance.

Cooking is a particularly popular activity, on many nights the smell of warm bread or cakes permeates the houses. Other evenings are spent in the Art Department doing crafts and design, or outside taking part in team activities.

Weekends in boarding are extra special as we discover Scotland during day trips. Castles are one of the girls’ favourite – after all, we have a lot of amazing history here – as are museums, like Dundee’s new V&Q. I’ll often accompany them to the theatre in Edinburgh or Glasgow or, from Fifth Form onwards, they can go to Perth’s cinema on their own.

Boarding is definitely busy, always varied, but with an underlying sense of rhythm and routine. Sunday brunch is probably the most popular meal of the week and sets the girls up for various activities like hikes, ice skating, trampolining and cycling.

Working in boarding is a great privilege. Watching the girls settle, develop, mature, make friends, it’s so rewarding.  They’re all happy, caring, independent, accomplished, articulate and kind. I’m very proud of each and every one of them!​”

 

 

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