An air of first-day excitement surfaced again as St Anthony of Padua Catholic School Austral’s 42 Kindergarten students boarded the bus today for their first journey to their new temporary school site.
Following a morning assembly with parents in the Parish hall at Austral, the students travelled 6km by bus to the Reading Recovery centre adjacent to sister school Good Shepherd Catholic Primary, where their classes will be held.
The temporary relocation follows more than a fortnight of heavy rain, which has compromised safe pedestrian access to the school. The new routine is expected to last for up to six months while Sydney Catholic Schools works with Liverpool Council to find a solution.
Students were given special ‘passports’ – notebooks for writing – with their own photos on the cover. The gift commemorates the continuation of their learning journey at the new site.
They’ve settled straight into learning.
The first bus trip was doubly special for Celine Eyou, who celebrated her fifth birthday on the same day.
“I’m most looking forward to going to the school,” she said. “My mum bought me mini cupcakes to share with my class.”
Fellow Kindergarten student Kapish Bajora, 5, took the travel in his stride after returning from a family trip to India.
“I’m excited to see my new big school,” he said. “I’ve been on the bus a lot of times before – about 100 times. This will be 101 times.”
Last Friday, parents had their own orientation journey. They took the same bus ride their children will now make each day and saw the classroom and playground area for themselves. Afterwards, some parents volunteered to help move furniture and set up the space.
Assistant Principal Naomi Crowley said the support and trust from the parent community had been wonderful. “The transfer from Austral to Hoxton Park has been seamless,” she said.
“The parents have been very supportive and the students are so excited. They’re just such a beautiful community.
“The classroom and outdoor area have been made as similar as possible to Austral so there is some familiarity. There are some familiar things in their classroom and some new things, so they’ve settled straight into learning.”
Every student was given an individualised passport to … document their journey into an authentic learning experience.
A tank full of tadpoles, word and number charts and colourful, flexible furniture and iPads are among the familiar elements of the learning space.
There is now also a dedicated area for the students to continue with STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics) activities each Wednesday with visiting STEM teacher John Burfoot. The students have been building LEGO robots and froglets and programming them to move.
Principal Lea De Angelis said the new site was well equipped and would allow the school to continue to run classes independently.
“The regular teaching day will continue as normal with the added benefit of embracing the opportunity of the bus trip to engage in new learning experiences for the children,” she said.
“We decided to turn the change in venue into a learning experience and foster the students’ natural excitement about moving. Every student was given an individualised
passport to mark the occasion and document their journey into an authentic learning experience.”