Harmony Day a time to ensure everyone belongs

Billy Kos talks to a city and country school about how they will celebrate their school’s cultural diversity.

Image: Orange happy to celebrate Harmony Day: Students at Cooerwull Public School dress up for their school's celebration.

Transforming classrooms into countries, learning to say hello in different languages and sampling cuisine from around the world are just some of the ways students across the state are celebrating Harmony Day this week.

At Fairfield Public School in Sydney’s southwest, their Harmony Day celebration is even more significant this year, finally able to invite parents to join in for the first time since last year’s lockdown.

Principal Ken Smith said the school was proud of its rich cultural diversity, with its 453 students representing 40 different languages from 26 different countries.

“Our school fosters inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for all, ensuring everyone at Fairfield Public School is welcomed, feels safe and is supported to participate,” Mr Smith said.

“The COVID-19 pandemic greatly impacted our local community, so we are especially looking forward to hosting a breakfast and celebrating our rich cultural diversity with our wonderful community.

“Our students are also excited to show parents the learning they have undertaken to increase their knowledge of the different cultures.”

At Cooerwull Public School in Lithgow, students will take part in Indigenous games, Bollywood dancing and hand painting for their Harmony Day celebrations.

The school, like many others across the state, is also encouraging students to wear orange or traditional clothing from their culture as part of the celebration.

“We like to use Harmony Day to educate our students through celebration and inclusivity about Australia’s wonderful cultural diversity,” principal Christine Wren said.

“We have created activities to encourage inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.

“This includes Indigenous sporting activities which are a wonderful and fun way for our students to celebrate and identify with the world’s oldest living culture,” she said.

This year’s theme, ‘Everyone belongs’, resonated with the students at Fairfield Public School, where a sense of belonging is a key priority.

“Harmony Day reminds me that people can be from different backgrounds, different nationalities and have different skin colour, but that we all belong and need to work together to create a multicultural community,” said Year 6 student Robert Nguyen.

“Harmony Day reminds me to appreciate all students from our many different cultures and respect all our differences,” Year 4 student Isabella Monsalve said.

“On Harmony Day we all unite to celebrate who we are, what our culture is and understand people’s differences so we can make Australia a better place and have everyone belong,” said Year 6 student Adel Bawajani.

“Harmony Day celebrates other people’s cultures and the need to respect each other to make sure everyone belongs,” said Year 4 student Tammy Xia.

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