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On Wednesday afternoon, I was able to join a Year 6 class as they walked to the River Torrens with Uncle John Lochowiak, SPSC’s Indigenous Advisor. Year 6 students have been exploring ecosystems and sustainability. They had the opportunity to explore the ecological changes in this environment over time and gain insights into the significance of this area for local Kaurna people.

Surrounded by an array of eucalypts and a myriad of bird calls, one could have easily thought they were in the middle of the bush, not the heart of the city. Uncle John shared about the importance of the river to animals and people. It was important that people did not camp right next to the river to ensure that others could utilise its resources and not scare animals from their life source. As a beautiful cool breeze started to swirl, Uncle John, with gentleness and wisdom, told us that the wind reminds us that despite our differences we all breath the same air. I could not think of a better way to illustrate the messages of diversity and harmony that are at the centre of Harmony Week.

This week has been Harmony Week, an opportunity to celebrate our country’s diversity. Harmony week is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians. Students across the School have been engaging with the messages of harmony this week throughout their learning. Many classes have been displaying elements of their learning outside their classrooms. You will be able to see these displays as you visit next week for Parent Teacher Interviews.

Intercultural Understanding is one of seven General Capabilities engrained within the Australian Curriculum. They equip students with the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions to live and work successfully. They also support and deepen student engagement with learning area content and are developed within the context of the learning areas. This week ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) shared a statement on what Intercultural Understanding means:

Intercultural understanding involves learning about and engaging with diverse cultures in ways that recognise commonalities and differences, create connections with others and cultivate mutually respectful relationships. Students reflect on and take responsibility for their own behaviours and their interactions with others within and across cultures. They understand that behaviour can have unintended effects on relationships between individuals and communities. Students develop values and dispositions such as curiosity, care, empathy, reciprocity, respect and responsibility, open-mindedness and critical awareness. Respect is based on the recognition that every person is important and must be treated with dignity. It includes recognising and appreciating differences between people and respecting another person’s point of view and their human rights.

SchoolTV – Our special wellbeing resource has a special report about Harmony Day. Please feel free to view it by clicking here.

Christopher Sanders
Deputy Head of Junior School – Teaching and Learning