Excited firstborns dominated the kindergarten classroom at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Primary North Strathfield, when the Archdiocese of Sydney’s 150th school opened its doors on Friday.
Of the 68 students enrolled in the new school’s kindergarten and Year 1/2 class, there are 54 kindergarten pupils. All but one of these were the first in their families to start primary school, adding to the momentousness of the day for the parents who will be an active part of the school community as its culture and traditions are formed.
Already the kindergarten is full and the indications are that for the next five or six years their brothers and sisters will be joining them at this school.
Dr Dan White, Executive Director CEO Sydney.
Principal Cathy Young said she was “over the moon” to have the opportunity to lead a new school. “We’re not coming into an established structure or tradition – we’re going to create the culture and the tradition of the school,” she said.
“In many ways that was very liberating because we have a vision for what Catholic education should look like and the research backs it. We were able to create those environments from the get-go.
“Right from the start we wanted to have a collaborative approach to what we create here. “At a policy level we’ll be consulting with parents. These families have come from all different cultures and different circumstances and sought out a Catholic education for their children. I need to be faithful to that and ensure that the vision we have for the school meets their children’s needs.”
Dr Dan White, Executive Director of Sydney Catholic Schools, said the establishment of the 150th school in the Archdiocese of Sydney was a landmark and evidence of the Archdiocese’s commitment to growing its capacity to meet the need of families in the region.
“Already the kindergarten is full and the indications are that for the next five or six years their brothers and sisters will be joining them at this school,” Dr White said.
“Catholic Schools are at an exciting time of child-centred learning environments rather than the traditional desks and chairs we might have had in the past.
“Cathy Young and the staff team have put a lot of thought into not just the physical learning environment but their commitment to helping the kids, not just to read and write, but to think and to relate to each other as learners.”
Jason’s sons Riley, 7, and Rorey, 6, are the first siblings to begin their education at Our Lady of the Assumption (OLA).
“The philosophy of the school was one that we were impressed by,” he said. “Riley started at another school last year and we brought him across so that the boys could be together at this school.
“This sort of exploratory learning I think is really good for the children of today. “Riley came home after his first day and he’s never said so much about what he has done at school. Usually he’s a bit more reserved but he’s really engaged with his learning now.”
What the parents said:
“We’re excited for him. It’s a new adventure and we’re looking forward to all the things a new school and a new year encompasses. There were a few primary schools to choose from but when we had our interview with Cathy we knew this was the right one. Straight away we had that trust and knew as a new school it was full of so much promise.” – Sandra, mother of Marco, 5
“We have a strong religious faith so we were looking for a Catholic school. The teachers, the organisation, and Cathy Young have been fantastic. We really liked the vision of the school, and the professionalism of the staff. “Sebastian was very eager to go to school and happy to be in his new uniform. It was a very, very smooth first day.” – Min, father of Sebastian, 4
“She was very excited for her first day – I was more nervous than her, I think. We thought it would be an easier transition for Montana being a smaller school. She’s very settled.” – Rosanne, mother to Montana, 5