Celebrating community: Ashfield says no to racism
Ashfield Public School is a culturally diverse primary school located in the inner-west of Sydney. It has a population of approximately 250 students of whom 90% are from non-English speaking backgrounds. A number of initiatives over the past three years have become intrinsically linked in the promotion and celebration of a culturally inclusive learning environment and form the basis of the school's anti-racism strategy.
Ashfield is building a strong sense of community identity and respect for cultural differences through a process of building school and community partnerships and increasing opportunites for parent participation. Pa rents from diverse cultural and language backgrounds meet and work together in a variety of ways to learn about the school community and support learning programs for their children.
It is within this inclusive environment that the school launched its anti-racism education project this year. The 2002 project builds on and extends ongoing anti-racism initiatives of previous years which have included:
- a strong sense of cultural and community celebration through the arts. Student art exhibitions and performing arts festivals are culturally inclusive and provide opportunities for parent artists and community performers to participate.
- the establishment of a community room as an informal meeting place. Parent artists representing diverse cultures work together to develop murals to feature in the room.
- opportunities for parents and members of the community to lead arts workshops for students and teachers through the Access Asia program.
- the involvement of the local council, community services and other local organisations in supporting a number of school-based initiatives. Representatives attend meetings and school events, share information about local family and community resources and develop positive relationships with parents and students.
- the regular involvement of community officers and others from the Department of Education and Training in school events and workshops for parents and teachers.
- school participation in local community events such as Ashfield's Carnival of Cultures.
Specific features of this year's anti-racism project include:
- the establishment of an anti-racism steering committee comprising staff, parent and student representatives
- the implementation of an anti-racism learning program for all classes K-6 taught by the community language teacher (who is also the school's Anti-Racism Contact Officer)
- peer mediation training for all stage 2 and 3 students and the linking of anti-racism learning outcomes with this program and other student welfare projects through the themes of community; cultural harmony, problem-solving, decision-making and student empowerment
- a range of staff development initiatives including team inservice, review of resources, whole staff meetings
- new procedures for the reporting of incidents of racism
- a highly successful anti-racism poster competition showcasing the artwork of all students in the school
- a program of student welfare parent workshops linking initiatives in anti-racism, peer mediation and drug education
- continued links with the arts through an anti-racism mural project and performances at the school's arts festival.
Assistant Principal Liz Davis, Community Language teacher Sandra Lau and teacher Lisa Shortland are staff members of the Anti-Racism Steering Committee. The school will move into the next phase of its anti-racism education project in 2003.
For more information, contact Ashfield Public School on 9798 4400.