Welcome New Arrivals
This project was focused primarily on strategies to engage families with the school,
and in particular to find innovative ways to support "new arrivals".
The project group was primarily focused on active strategies to make the transition to
school for new parents/families as smooth as possible.
A number of activities were implemented over the two to three months of the research,
· appointment of project co-ordinator;
· establishment of a two-tier buddy scheme;
· teacher/staff skill register;
· commencement of multilingual website;
· "Cook/Talk/Share" Programs where different cultural groups hosted culinary
events for families; and
· parent morning coffee meetings (run just prior to school assembly, so families
could combine the two events).
This primary school is a multi-campus 500-student primary school in the suburbs of
Adelaide, with a significant multicultural population. Its catchment includes substantial
areas classified as low socio-economically, although there are some high socio-
economic areas. About one-fifth of students receive government support.
The school is located on the fringes of Adelaide and attracts students from the
surrounding rural area as well as the suburbs.
It is one of the most ethnically diverse schools in South Australia with 45% of its
students coming from non-English-speaking backgrounds. More than 50 nationalities
are represented in the student body, including 1% Indigenous.
Few of the NESB families had traditionally become involved in school activities and the
main focus of this project was to engage them more effectively.
This was an example of how a school was able to use its own position in the
community to create social networks among parents. +Its Buddy system connected
families who would otherwise probably not have become connected, overcoming
barriers of culture and language, and creating a welcoming atmosphere for new
Personal contact with parents by the project co-ordinator--a parent appointed by
parents--was critical, as was the preparedness by the school to empower the parent
body in this way.
Also the "Cook/Talk/Share" activities were not overtly educational, nor did they require
any particular expertise. However, they provided an enjoyable social occasion, so once
again the "enjoyment" factor was important.
32 CASE G Welcome New Arrivals This project was focused primarily on strategies to engage families with the school, and in particular to find innovative ways to support "new arrivals". Personal contact with parents by the project co-ordinator--a parent appointed by parents--was critical, as was the preparedness by the school to empower the parent body in this way.