Sunshine Christian School in the western suburbs of Melbourne is different from others in the Lutheran Education Australia family. It started out life as a Uniting Church school in 1982. Facing closure in 2004, the school asked to join the Lutheran system, with nearby St Matthew’s Lutheran Church taking on the role of supporting congregation. It is a deliberately small school and has an extremely high percentage of students from non-English speaking backgrounds and a significant refugee population. As of 2015 more than 80 per cent of Sunshine’s students had English as a second, third or fourth language and the school population spoke more than 20 different languages.
by Paolo Familari
Sunshine Christian School serves the multi-cultural community of Sunshine in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
From humble beginnings more than 30 years ago, our school has grown into a Christian community united by a desire to bring up young people to love God, love each other and love learning. The school is capped at 100 students and simply has no physical room to grow. Our small size has enabled us to provide a harmonious learning environment in which we know each student.
We have wonderful support from our parents who are very loyal to the school and its mission. We believe in the development of the whole child, and provide high quality physical education, arts and camping/excursion programs alongside our wide-ranging curriculum and rigorous academic study.
Our school is known for its strong Christian foundations, excellent pastoral care, sound academic record, vibrant curriculum and being ‘a big family’. The school places an emphasis on tolerance and celebrating our cultural diversity.
Our staff also come from diverse backgrounds, which has enriched the school community. Some of the benefits of having such a multi-cultural community are living the Christian values of tolerance, kindness and patience.
Our community provides opportunities to spread the gospel, particularly through our actions.
Paolo Familari is Principal of Sunshine Christian School.