At Sunrise, there are more than 20 different cultures represented which include different ethnic and linguistic backgrounds. There are families from all walks of life, people who work in nearly every industry and attend churches from a variety of Christian denominations. Students come from a all sorts of family types and settings, whether it be traditional nuclear families, extended families, single-parent families and blended families. Overall, just as we see in South Australia as a whole, our school community is certainly not the white Anglo-Saxon mix that might have been the norm when I first began my teaching career. Amidst this wonderful widespread diversity, is a shared faith in Jesus Christ. As our school community is made up of families and staff who are active Christians, together we paint a beautiful picture of the diversity in the Body of Christ, and the breadth of the impact the gospel has in our world!
Diversity can present challenges; however, it also provides a great opportunity as we realise that our differences allow us to provide insight and knowledge that may not be available to a more homogenous group. I observe in our amazing students the capacity to be inclusive and also the ability to welcome new people and influences. The younger generation is far more adaptable and willing to embrace the changes that arise from our modern society. We have recognised an obvious tolerance and sensitivity that has developed amongst our student population.
As we adapt to the positive change of multiculturalism, we have the opportunity to broaden our offering and thereby reach out into the community. Our curriculum at Sunrise is catering for this, and our celebrations as a school reflect the brilliant aspects of the different cultures represented.
Of course, there are challenges that we all must face that stem from our differences; these challenges have always been present in one form or another. Communication is key to overcoming much of this, so it is essential to foster a two-way flow of information between the home and the school and for us to be aware of any language barriers. At Sunrise, we are adopting new forms of technology to promote better communication and to ensure that the partnership is strong. Some of this is through social media and online platforms, but we also still employ some of the more traditional methods such as with our newsletters, parent conferences and meetings. It is so important that we allow all to be heard and enable parents to speak and provide feedback as much as possible.
We are adapting to the changes that are naturally occurring around us, but at the same time we are not allowing this change to water down what we believe to be most valuable. After all, although we are all different, it is how we are the same that unites us. That is, we are all children of God, and all share a faith in Christ. Therefore, Christ remains central to all that we do. Along with this, we hold tightly to some of the more traditional pedagogy which are most beneficial and may be less student-directed. You might notice our classes are more teacher-directed and there is a strong emphasis on the learning of basics, including memorisation of facts and the early introduction of a phonics approach in Literacy.
In all of this, what we see at Sunrise Christian School Marion is an excellent combination of different cultures, ages, backgrounds and now even a blend of two schools with Temple Marion Middle School becoming a part of the family. We are a small part of the Body of Christ, and we have a role to play in the greater Kingdom of God.