Antoin and Dana Chamamyan were as excited for the first day of kindergarten at St Joseph’s Primary School, Moorebank as their children – the education milestone welcomed as part of the peace they fled their war-torn home in Syria to find.
The parents to five-year-old triplets Anna, Agob, and Eva spent 18 months in Zahle, Lebanon before arriving in Australia on a humanitarian visa in November.
The children started lessons on Thursday, where learning to write their name and be familiar with their new classroom routine were their first tasks.
Their father Antoin said he was excited for his children to start school, as they had not been able to attend preschool for the past two years.
“We are so happy and excited,” he said. “They we’re very anxious to get up and get dressed and come to school. Agob was jumping and laughing ‘We are going to school, we are going to school’!”
“Each one has their own personality. Anna loves dancing and drawing, Agob loves music and playing instruments like drums and violin. Eva loves to sing.”
Principal Carol Luc said the school had provided as much support as possible to assist the family to transition to an Australian school setting, including the provision of uniforms, school bags and language support
“We have selected students who can speak the same language as the children to be their year 6 buddies in order to assist them with communication, and we have arranged for one of our staff members who speaks the same language [Lebanese] as well to be present in the classroom and on the playground to support the students in the first couple of weeks at this school,” she said.
“We’re absolutely thrilled to be able to provide the children with a quality educational experience because we understand the situation that they have come from where education wasn’t readily available.”