Advanced language school for Greek students takes off

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram With two campuses aimed at newly arrived Greek students, the new Advanced Greek Language School of the Greek Orthodox Community of Melbourne and Victoria (GOCMV) has seen its first students attend their class last Tuesday. In its endeavour to support newly arrived migrants from Greece and responding to the needs of the new community members to maintain the level of Greek their children use, the GOCMV embarked on the new education initiative, with its prime focus being students whose first language is Greek.“We are now talking about third and fourth generations of your typical after hours Greek School student. They all have different backgrounds, some of them have very little interaction with Greek; sometimes they speak English even with their grandparents. “Basically, there are quite a few different levels of Greek in existing student groups. And then on top of that, we have students that have recently arrived from Greece, who have Greek as their mother tongue. So when they attend these normal after hours Greek schools, they are not learning anything. And being in an English environment, the parents are concerned that after few months in Australia their children start speaking English and forgetting their Greek,” spokesperson for the Advanced Greek School and GOCMV board member, Nick Dallas, told Neos Kosmos. Aimed at students living in south-eastern suburbs and surrounding areas, where over 50 per cent of newly arrived Greeks appear to have settled, one of the two new campuses is based in East Malvern, operating every Tuesday from 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm. The other campus, catering for people living in the rest of Melbourne, is located in the city’s Lonsdale street, and will operate every Saturday morning from 9.30 am to 12.30 pm. “Once the Community building starts operating, towards the end of the year, the campuses will shift towards the Cultural Centre, and will be based there permanently,” Nick Dallas said.The coordinator of the new Greek School and one of its initiators, Maria Bakalidou, a philologist with 15 years experience in the Greek education sector, told Neos Kosmos she came up with the idea through being a newly arrived migrant herself, with children of pre-school and school age. “When we came, they had a certain knowledge of Greek, so I was interested how to maintain it. In the meantime, I started working in the after hours Greek schools here. I realised that those Greek schools do an amazing job, teaching Greek to kids of the third or fourth generation. But, on the other hand, that level of Greek is inadequate for children who have Greek as their mother tongue.“All these new Greeks in Australia have created some new circumstances, new needs – both cultural and educational. The language school was a starting point,” Bakalidou says.The curriculum of the Advanced Greek School will be based on Greek textbooks presently used in Greek schools in Greece, rather than those published for Greeks of the diaspora. The teachers – around ten of them have been employed – all have experience of teaching in Greece, making them more aware of the Greek curriculum. With around 70 enrolled students in the first week of new Greek School, Nick Dallas and Maria Bakalidou share the opinion that more enrolments are expected until the end of February and early March. “At the moment classrooms will be combined year levels. We’ll have prep classes, Year 1 to Year 6, then high school classes. Most of the enrolments so far have been at the primary school level, however if the classes are greater than 20, we will split up the classrooms.” The three-hour classes will be held once a week at the two campuses. As coordinator Maria Bakalidou told Neos Kosmos, apart from the language and grammar component, the classes will also provide insight into Greek culture, geography, history and tradition as well as theatre, music and dance. For more information, contact GOCMV, on (03) 9662 2722last_img

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