School celebrates its diverse cultures

KOREN ALLPRESS
Last updated 05:00 05/07/2014

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A global world is truly being celebrated at Waianiwa School.

The rural school, which teaches year 1 to year 6, will soon have a roll of 58 and nine countries to celebrate after an influx of pupils from Gypsy Day.

Yesterday, the school held an international day to celebrate its new diverse culture. Pupils there are of Filipino, Argentinian, Scottish, Zambian, Cook Islander, Tongan, New Zealand Maori, New Zealand European and South African descent.

School principal Sue Walker said it was important pupils knew about the similarities and differences between cultures. She wanted pupils to be accepting of each other. Three new pupils arrived from Argentina on Wednesday and did not yet speak any English.

"Dairy NZ gave us $1000 funding to break down the language barriers," Walker said. The money would go towards teachers aides.

Farmer Maria Escudero moved to New Zealand 12 years ago and more of her family arrived in Southland this week.

Her nieces and nephew Luana Escudero, 5, Ludmila Escudero, 9, and Jean Pierre, 13, will start at the school next term.

"They are very happy and excited. It is a different culture, a different language, it's a big challenge," Escudero said.

Teacher Stella Hines, of Spar Bush, said pupils were encouraged to bring along a traditional plate of food from the culture they identifed with.

Pupil Charlotte Collie, 10, prepared lammingtons and sausages for the event, but was looking forward to pavlova.

Sarah Low, mother of Caley, 7, and Milli, 10, said her children had brought Scottish food. "It's great, it's really good, because all of the new nationalities at the school have a chance to meet all the new parents and children," she said.

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