Abbotsford Primary School prides itself on delivering a world-class bilingual program that is globally informed and locally rooted. In order to stay globally informed, we strive to build and maintain global connections for all stakeholders of our school community. Each year, our school calendar is filled with opportunities for purposeful and professionally-oriented global engagement activities:
Our formal student-to-student exchange program offers students from Years 3 to 6 an opportunity to foster a sense of curiosity for the Chinese-speaking world and build friendships across borders. Each year level involves a target group of student exchange audience from the Sinosphere they will engage with either as a class or individuals. Students learn to approach intercultural encounters with a sense of appreciation and objectivity, rather than judgement. They learn to interact, notice, compare, reflect, which prompts them to want to interact again in order to understand their fellow peers.
The staff at Abbotsford Primary School have the unique challenge of having to develop and deliver a world-class bilingual program without having readily available resources or like-minded industry colleagues who they can rely on. Global engagement for teachers thus focus on shared professional development and networking opportunities with other Chinese/English bilingual schools, both in Australia and Chinese-speaking regions.
Leading a bilingual school requires much courage and a different mindset to mainstream schools. This is particularly the case in English-speaking countries, where the international lingua franca is also the society's dominant language. The leaders at Abbotsford Primary School engage with bilingual school networks, consult internationally renowned academics and co-invest in projects that are beneficial for tackling the most challenging aspects of innovating within bilingual classrooms.
Abbotsford Primary School has an established sister school relationship with Huaibei Capital Experimental Elementary School（淮北市首府实验小学）in Anhui Province, China. Through this relationship, the two schools engage in official visits, study tours, host family programs and semi-regular sharing of school-based cultural events for each other's broader school community.