Mural Links World Cultures
The essence of community participation has been celebrated in Waverley Public School's Cultural Diversity Program. Collaboration and cooperation within the whole school community ensured that a rich program investigating Australian cultural diversity is reflected on the school's walls with the unveiling of a multicultural mural. A grant from the South Eastern Sydney Area Health Service provided the funds to make parent Linda Janssen's design a reality. Waverley PS is situated in the Sydney Region and has a diverse student population of 105, with 62% of students from Language Backgrounds Other Than English (LBOTE). The main language groups are Japanese and Hindi, with more than 25 different cultural backgrounds represented at the school. The mural enhances the school's commitment to multicultural education by acknowledging the diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds of the students and the value and respect for their heritage.
"The unveiling of the mural was the culmination of several weeks work in the classroom," school principal Glenn Levett said. "The multicultural program has been in place for several years. What we wanted was to expand this program so students were involved collaboratively."
The school recently extended its "buddy program", which teamed Kindergarten and Year 5 students, to the buddying of the entire school. "Buddies researched each other's cultural backgrounds. The parents came up with questions they wanted the buddies to answer about the countries of heritage," Mr Levett said.
Parents, teachers and students all contributed to the painting process, which included illuminating the playground with sporting motifs from around the globe.
Joyce Woodbury, liaison officer for the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, gave an Aboriginal welcome to country, and Wentworth MHR, Peter King, presented the school with a new Australian flag.
After the unveiling ceremony, there was a variety of multicultural events including international songs, dances and drama, followed by a lunch of 50 dishes from different parts of the world. The day concluded with an international sports afternoon.
Mr Levett concluded by adding, "Australia is indeed a lucky country: from the rich culture of our indigenous community to the contribution of cultures from many nations. We have embraced this diversity of cultures, to make a proud nation and a nation of which we can be proud."