In December, children tend to cheerfully count the days until the start of school holidays. Daydreams of endless play with friends or going to the beach with family fill heads and hearts. But when new to Australia, families from refugee backgrounds may not be able to access holiday programs and feel disconnected from the broader community. They have a lot on their plate, navigating all the cultural unknowns that come with moving to a new country.
This means children from refugee backgrounds often experience school holidays differently to children born in Australia. Feeling isolated at home alone in the summertime is quite common. Or having to take care of younger siblings because parents are out working. When schoolmates are doing the opposite, playing carefree, these moments can feel cheerless.
Every kid deserves a break and to have fun during the school holidays. RMCC makes sure they do. Action-packed, our School Holiday Program allows kids to be active and interact with peers, families, and community, building a sense of connection and belonging to their new home.
We offer over 20 school holiday sessions every year. In this blog, we share awesome memories from previous programs and the difference made for our kids.
Intergalactic School Holiday Program
Exploring outer space: a dream come true! Between terms 3 and 4 last year, we organised a 2-day intergalactic experience for Sidekicks Junior students. Space-based games made kids jump around and play astronaut. They learned out-of-this-world space facts and enjoyed lunch at a local park. Creativity and imagination made everything become possible on these two days.
Trip to Werribee Zoo
Our fun day out with animals was a definite highlight for students from the Sunshine College Sidekicks Senior program. In December, they visited Werribee Zoo, learned about wildlife native to Australia as well as from all over the world.
They hung out (safely!) with gorillas and lions in their enclosures. As part of an adventurous safari, they waved at rhinos, giraffes, and elephants. They walked towards the emus (and loved it!) and many wanted to adopt wild dogs. They were, however, not impressed by the smelliness of the hippos.
Hip hop class
Prepped for an afternoon busting moves, the Sidekicks Senior program at CRC welcomed Mary Gibboyi, a hip-hop dance instructor.
After filling their bellies with yummy pizza, some kids learned to dance hip-hop while others chose to hone their basketball skills on the courts.
Kids were excited and engaged. They loved learning hot new dance moves with their classmates and mentors.
Lost Lands Festival
One-of-a-kind, the Lost Lands Festival in Werribee hosts colourful music, theatre and comedy. Families can participate in workshops, dance and unleash their creativity, while surrounded by beautiful nature.
Last year, RMCC organised Games of the World for the festival, a fun land where kids and adults played games from all corners of the world! Families from over 15 countries were invited to share diverse games celebrating their heritage or homeland.
There’s always more!
Our activities push the boundaries of fun and special to make children feel valued, welcomed and excited about the holidays.
Over the years, RMCC kids have also:
- attended a jazzy upcycled fashion workshop;
- gone artsy watching a play at the Arts Centre and visiting the NGV;
- turned our giant collection of recyclables into a well-functioning city;
- put their engineering caps on, made buildings out of Legos and learned about robotics;
- petted lots of animals at the Collingwood Children’s Farm;
- set up their own imaginative restaurants, creating menus and engaging customers.
For many children, school means learning maths and how to write, playing with friends and perhaps helping with the school play. But when new to Australia, children must navigate socio-cultural differences and figure out how to belong. Fun activities help them create positive childhood memories, connect with their new home and make lasting friendships.
Over 2,000 refugee children arrive in Victoria every year. Our goal is to reach and support each and every one of them by the end of 2020.