Eden Public School officially opened its new parent café on Thursday, with the innovative service designed to improve the relationship between the school and the local community.
Located just inside the main gate on Imlay Street, the café will be open on Thursdays from 10am-2pm, giving parents and members of the community an opportunity to come and ask questions or make suggestions to staff.
The building was previously used as a special education classroom, and principal John Davidson said the idea of turning it into a café came about as a result of the school’s desire to continue building involvement from people within the town.
“We know that the closer the bond is between the school and the community, the better the quality of education is going to be for the kids; that’s the bottom line,” he said.
“This isn’t the old days where the principal would say, ‘I’m the boss of the school, do what I say’.
“We’ve got to work together to ensure the best possible future for our kids.
“If the community identifies with the school and understands what we’re trying to do for our children, and they believe that they can be involved, that they’re listened to and that their advice is acted on, the school is more effective.
“The kids learn better and it’s a much more harmonious place for all involved.”
The café will be staffed by Lesa Arvidson and Narissa Dunne, and the school also plans on developing a timetable so that teachers will be in the café for a period of time each Thursday.
The room is fully equipped, with a kitchen, fridges, tea and coffee-making facilities, smartboard, second-hand uniform shop and suggestion box.
The walls are decorated with students’ artworks, many of which incorporate traditional Aboriginal art.
The Aboriginal community was well-represented at the opening on Thursday, with Pastor Ossie Cruse making a welcome to country speech, and elder Ossie Stewart cutting the ribbon to officially declare the café open.
“We see ourselves as the extended family of the school,” Pastor Cruse said.
“With everything we do, we’re looking to create harmony in our nation.
“Everybody has the best interest of these kids at heart, and we’re very glad to be here and to have the chance to work together for our kids.”
The school’s Aboriginal education officer, Corey Stewart, echoed these thoughts.
“I think we’re doing a lot of great things at the school in Aboriginal education,” he said.
“The teachers are always approaching me and saying, ‘How can we teach this?’
“There is a lot of respect for our culture here, and you can see in our attendances that its having an effect.”