Defence Support Mentor


DEFENCE SUPPORT MENTOR (DSM)

A ‘Defence family’ is one in which either or both parents are serving members of the Australian Army, Royal Australian Airforce or Royal Australian Navy and Reservists who are on Continuous Fulltime Service (CFS).  Although we are happy to include general Reservists in our groups, they are not included in our official numbers as these members are unlikely to deploy or relocate.

At Amaroo school we have a large defence community. To accommodate the needs of our defence students there are 2 Defence Mentors working together over the whole of the school, Tamara Turner and Alison Bury. Tamara is a Defence spouse, recently posted to Canberra from Queensland. Tamara brings loads of experience as a Defence School Mentor and understanding of the unique lifestyle and challenges that Defence families face. Alison has lived in different locations overseas while raising a family and has extensive lived transition and pastoral care experience.

At least one of us is available each day of the school week. We welcome you to contact us via email or by phoning the front office anytime. DSM’s are funded by the Department of Defence through the Defence Community Organisation and employed as a member of the school staff.

In our roles as Defence Support Mentors we can assist with:

* Settling in: Transitioning into a new school can be stressful for some students. Understandably, the reasons are often not knowing anyone and having to make new friends or adjusting to a different educational system. We will work on helping your child feel that they are valued as important members of the school community and to develop friendship and support networks as quickly as possible. We can provide information on educational allowances provided by the Department of Defence, should your child require extra tuition.

* Deployed parent/Absent from Home (Courses or MWDU): Family separation affects all members of the family and children’s behaviour can sometimes alter as they try to adapt to the changes in home life. It is highly recommended for you to notify your child’s teacher and the DSM when a parent is away so your child can be supported.

* Posting Out: Most children adapt well and see moving as an adventure. Other children need extra encouragement and positive thinking strategies. We work with students who are posting out of Canberra to farewell their current friends and talk through preparing for their new school.

Throughout the week, we work throughout the school environment allowing us to come to know your child. This also allows them to be familiar with us so they feel confident in approaching us should they need help.

Understanding that Defence kids are a culture unto themselves, we run weekly activity groups, encouraging connection, fun and opportunities to talk through issues and emotions that surface as a result of their lived experience.

We are in regular contact with families and throughout the year we hold morning tea’s and invite you to join us in getting to know other Defence families in the area.

If you require assistance or would like to have a chat please don’t hesitate to contact us on: tamara.turner@ed.act.edu.au or alison.bury@ed.act.edu.au.