Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Villawood’s community hub provides a supportive environment where parents are welcomed.
The hub is run in partnership with Settlement Services International since 2017 to support migrant families from various backgrounds.
Community hub leader Christine Mallia works closely with the school’s principal, family educator, education providers and community organisations to provide educational opportunities.short courses and opportunities and access to local organisations. Some of the certified TAFE courses include English conversation classes, First Aid, computing and makeup.
All courses aim to improve social connections and upskill parents.
Parents know that … the hub door is always open.
– Christine Mallia
About 50% of the class who completed an English course run by TAFE in Term 2 were non English speakers, some of whom attended were from neighbouring schools. Other’s took advantage of the course to improve their English writing skills.
‘The English course was very relaxed,’ Mrs Mallia said. ‘Some parents had only been in the country for three weeks, so it was also good for them to get to know other parents socially.’
‘Two parents who attended and completed an eight-week makeup course are now enrolled in TAFE to complete a Diploma in Make Up.’
‘The Community Hub’s focus is to let parents know that even if they just want to come in and have a chat, the hub door is always open.’
This is more than a school. It feels like home.
– Rose Mwangi
Roujan Chidiac, who has a daughter in Year 4 regularly attends parent coffee mornings which is held every Thursday with the Community hub leader and Family Educator.
‘I can’t make the courses due to work commitments, but it doesn’t matter. The fact that the courses are running is a fantastic incentive – mums can come within school hours and they’re learning from it and enjoying it,’ she said.
‘It’s only sad our kids have to grow up and leave the school. My eldest was here from 2007, and it’s the same atmosphere now. They have a good team who really care about our children and us.’
Rose Mwangi, whose son is also in Year 4, completed the English course. Originally from Kenya, she said the hub has helped to break the language barrier and allow her opportunities for her own personal growth.
‘Sharing a cup of coffee together and a chat has been so wonderful,’ she said. ‘It’s so interesting when you meet with people from different cultures, different personalities. We all value community and there is respect no matter where you come from.’
“Being here now with all my family back home, to be honest this is more than a school. It feels like home.”
‘The school is very easy to approach if ever I need something. When my visa was expiring I needed some documents that were very unclear to me. Christine and Elena put aside their work and spent time with me to make sure that everything ran well. They are looking out not just for the kids but also looking after the parents.’