Harmony Day occurs on 21 March each year and coincides with the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The ongoing theme of Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’ and it is a day to celebrate and embrace Australia’s cultural diversity.
Harmony Day at Sunshine Beach State School is a special day to highlight inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for all Australians, from the traditional owners of the land and to those who have come from other parts of the world.
At Sunshine Beach State School, staff and learners wear something orange on 21 March to show their support of the Harmony Day key messages.
Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Day as traditionally orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect.
The day culminates in a whole school assembly; however this year, due to the Australian Government announcement that all organised, non-essential mass gatherings attended by more than 500 are to be cancelled for health reasons, the school decided that the day was too important to completely cancel and that they would hold a virtual assembly.
At 2pm, the school’s normal time of assemblies, each class tuned in to watch the cultural leaders Indiana and Oscar, present a passionate speech about making sure we all do our part to ensure everyone feels like they belong.
They added ‘”This year is the 21st anniversary of Harmony Day, recognising the success of Australia’s multicultural society and the benefits of cultural diversity and belonging.
When we celebrate Harmony Day, we remember ‘everyone belongs’ and we can be proud to be a part of such a diverse school and nation.”
Cultural leader Indiana said, ‘Harmony Day is an important day at our school because it encourages us to work together, treat each other as equals and to celebrate the different cultures and traditions of the families in our school.’
As an accredited international school, celebrating Harmony Day is particularly important.
Families from all over the world are warmly welcomed and make up the mix of the school population. At present, the school has families from over forty countries including Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Brazil and Korea, as well as families coming from all over the coast and hinterland.
International learners’ range in age, and enrol in mainstream classes, taking part in daily learning activities alongside their new classmates.
International families at Sunshine Beach State School are very pleased with how happy and settled their children are and are amazed at how much they learn by being part of the classroom environment. Specialised staff provide extra lessons supporting the learners.
Teacher Melissa Valotta who works with the international children and families said, ‘We are proudly a recognised international school with families from many countries.
We promote cultural acceptance every day throughout our school in both the classroom and playgrounds, and through special events like Harmony Day celebrations.’
Nina, mother of Sammy in prep and Tommy in Year 5 said, “I love this school, it is an awesome school.
“Coming from Europe, Australia should realise that that they are at the forefront and leaders in education.
“Everyone here has been extremely kind.
“People have gone out of their way to help the boys and make them feel welcome. It’s been amazing!,” she said.