notes of encouragement
Over 2,000 children from refugee and migrant backgrounds start school in Victoria every year.
It’s not just the school that’s different.
The language, culture, education system, friends and expectations are usually different too.
And if you have gaps in your prior education, or experiences of trauma and financial hardship, it’s harder still.
NOTES OF ENCOURAGEMENT AIMS TO MAKE THEIR FIRST DAY
Every year RMCC gives hundreds of kids from refugee and migrant backgrounds a backpack containing all the materials they need for school, so they’re not at a material disadvantage to their classmates. We also add a note of encouragement into each backpack, so the kids know there’s someone in their community cheering them on.
The kids love receiving these notes – especially when they’re from other school kids.
Simply ask your students to write and decorate a note for a school-aged child from a refugee or migrant background, encouraging them as they start school in Victoria in 2022.
It’s a fun and meaningful activity for kids to do as the year draws to a close.
Below you’ll find downloadable note-writing tips, and for inspiration you can review our gallery of last year’s notes.
Pop all the notes into an envelope and post them to:
RMCC Notes of Encouragement
21A Sun Crescent
Sunshine VIC 3020
Let us know what grades or year levels the notes are from, so we can thank them in the personalised thank you video we’ll send you.
I was looking for a way for my students to broaden their understanding of multicultural Australia. Writing notes of encouragement for RMCC kids starting their school year was a meaningful way to highlight our connections with one another. My Year 3 students reflected on their own range of ‘start of the school year’ emotions from excitement to apprehension and used these to craft messages to their new friends. The letters express a sense of community, inclusiveness and an appreciation for diversity in our world.
RMCC, thank you for this opportunity for our students to take positive action. They are already looking forward to welcoming the next cohort!
Teacher, Bialik College
HOW WILL YOUR SCHOOL
Your school will receive a personalised video thanking your students for participating, explaining the positive outcomes of their efforts, and showing the notes being packed into backpacks.
Your school culture can also benefit by:
- building empathy in students by highlighting the extra hurdles that kids from refugee and migrant backgrounds tackle when starting school;
- starting important conversations about what it’s like to start life again in a new country, with a new culture and a new language;
- acknowledging the resilience of students that go through this process, and admiring their strength, determination and achievements rather than focusing on their difficulties;
- encouraging students to consider individual actions they can take to make new kids feel welcome and comfortable in their new school;
- demonstrating school values of inclusion, diversity, kindness and community.
- Keep your note simple and within one page. Often simple messages mean the most.
- Remember that refugees come from a variety of backgrounds and aren’t refugees forever. Don’t assume anything about their faith or culture. Keep it light and focus on encouragement and support.
- Avoid writing ‘welcome to Australia’ because some kids might have been in Australia for a while already.
- Presume they speak English well; most of the kids RMCC supports are bilingual or trilingual!
- Create as many notes as you like. We have hundreds of kids we want to reach.
- Have fun! Feel free to decorate your note or add pictures to it. The brighter, the better!
- Download printable tips below.
CAN WE DO
Some schools have asked if they can fundraise, but that’s up to you! There’s no fundraising requirement to participate.
If students want to donate a gold coin, it will be put towards the learning materials that RMCC purchases for each child’s backpack to ensure they’re not a material disadvantage to their classmates.
Fundraised money can be donated by credit card payment, cheque (made out to RMCC) or bank transfer (contact us below for bank details).
RMCC (Refugee Migrant Children Centre) is a Victorian not-for-profit organisation supporting school-aged kids from refugee and migrant backgrounds to overcome the barriers they face as they settle into life in Australia. These barriers can include learning a new language, adjusting to a new culture, overcoming significant gaps in education, and living with experiences of trauma, racism and financial hardship.
Providing necessary learning materials and building kids’ confidence and sense of belonging is just a small part of RMCC’s work. We provide ongoing support through weekly after-school mentoring programs that are tailored to kids’ evolving needs. By working with the key figures in a child’s life – their school, teachers, family, community – we create a network of support to help the kids achieve positive educational and social outcomes.
Our team is here to support you.
THESE NOTES WILL HELP THEM TO FEEL CONNECTED TO THEIR NEW HOME.
IT’S ALSO A WAY OF CHEERING THEM ON TO VENTURE INTO THEIR DREAMS, THEIR PASSIONS, ALL THE THINGS THEY WANT TO DO IN SCHOOL.”
Soheila and Vivian
RMCC Program Leaders