Living as Children of the light, loving God, loving others, loving learning. Sunshine Christian School is nestled in the multicultural Western suburbs of Melbourne. Our community is representative of our demographic, and we celebrate the rich diversity, which is created through the coming together of many cultures. Our small size enables us to build a strong sense of community, and at the heart of our community is a firm foundation of faith stemming from our Lutheran ethos and identity. This Spotlight is written by Damian Pietsch, Principal of Sunshine Christian School.
Multicultural Day has become an integral part of our school year and is loved by students and staff alike. It is a special day in which the school not only recognises and acknowledges the different cultures at our school but also celebrates the richness each culture brings to our community.
The Student Representative Council takes ownership of the organisation, preparation and activities offered throughout the day. This year they focused on teaching traditional Filipino and Vietnamese games to their fellow students, which they in turn had been taught by their parents.
A continued focus on student wellbeing throughout the school has culminated in several incursions this year. The Year 3-6 students recently heard the fascinating and inspiring story of Luke Kennedy from the man himself. Students learnt about the dangers of self-bullying and how Luke turned his life around through the power of a positive mindset.
The whole school was then enthralled by the story of NED. Through captivating story-telling, the message of ‘Never give up’, ‘Encourage others’ and ‘Do your best’ reinforced the importance of a positive growth mindset among the students. It has been wonderful to occasionally overhear the students correct each other by adding ‘…yet!’ to the end of an ‘I can’t…’ sentence.
We also had an excellent visit from Vicki at ALWS, who led our students through a fascinating insight into the world of communities who live without the resources we take for granted. Students learnt not only about compassion and service, but also about the real meaning of resilience and grit and had the opportunity to reflect on how they could apply these skills to their own lives.
Our Year 3–6 students undertook their biannual peer mediation course facilitated by Dave Vinegrad earlier this year. Through a series of interactive learning experiences, the students learned about restorative practice. This involves learning how to guide others in mending broken relationships using the important life skill of mediation. Peer mediators help students to reflect on what happened, how it affected the other person, and how it could be repaired and managed better next time. Under the guidance of our Year 6 Peer Mediator Coordinator, students are rostered on during every break time throughout the week to help facilitate restorative conversations with fellow students.
The school aims to continually engage with our parents and families to enhance our sense of community. A recent example of this was the Green Hat ‘Planks Session’ we conducted after school. Having spent time in self-directed learning and experimentation during the day in order to create the highest, strongest, or even most creative structures out of simple wooden planks, students were then able to teach these skills to their parents and siblings and build new creations together.
We continue to value and build on the connection we have with our supporting congregation, St Matthew’s Lutheran Church Footscray. Pastor Sam works at the school on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons, giving invaluable input into our weekly Whole School Worship services and helping to lead our student prayer group during Friday lunchtimes. We have also been developing student involvement at St Matthew’s worship services. Last term the SRC presented an interactive skit based on Acts 16, and we look forward to our choir performing at the service next week.
Having a P.E. space of 11m by 17m may seem restrictive to some, but at SCS we utilise every spare inch we have. With creative use of the space available, wise use of Sporting Schools grants and the establishment of wonderful local community connections, we can provide a rich sporting program to our students. Recent programs in tennis, netball, AFL and athletics have allowed our students to be competitive in weekly Interschool Sports against local schools, as well as, in district Athletics carnivals.
Sunshine Christian School