Delivering Greek language and culture classes
to preschool-age children
“To my father I owe my life; to my teacher, the quality of my life”
“Στον πατέρα μου χρωστάω το ‘ζειν’, στον δάσκαλό μου το ‘ευ ζειν’”
By Alexander the Great
Zenon Education Centre is founded on the Stoic philosophical teachings and perspectives of the great classical philosopher Zenon. As such, in addition to knowledge, Zenon believed in development and growth through harmony, and in virtues such as bravery, wisdom, prudence, and justice.
Similarly, our school offers Greek language classes to school children who want to learn or improve their Greek language within an environment that enables them to grow to love their great heritage and their cultural background through interactive and holistic teaching methods. It has, so far, been successful in that its students have managed to acquire skills and knowledge on a variety of themes related to Greek language, history and culture, and most importantly, an appreciation for Greek learning.
- To educate young boys and girls so that they become fluent in the Greek language;
- To help them appreciate the Greek culture within the wider multicultural society of Australia.
- To provide our students with quality educational programs which will assist them reach their full potential in learning Greek as a second language and contribute to their academic performance.
- To provide students with strong and solid foundations in the Greek language and culture in an innovating, interesting and fun way and by instilling in them a consciousness of their Greek heritage and identity. Our objective is to allow students to reach their full potential of learning the Greek language, and to develop as confident, bilingual individuals.
- As a language school with a high profile in the community and a set of high goals aiming for excellence, we believe that we will grow and develop hand in hand with our students.
Zenon’s teaching and learning includes a range of activities such as writing workshops, reading sessions, group discussions on familiar topics, educational games, and interactive learning through technology and the internet. Language learning is complimented with culture and this is done through folk dancing and other traditional practices and customs.
The students are taught in small groups in order to maximize learning and provide teaching tailored to the particular needs and talents of the students.
Days and Hours of Operation
Zenon Education Centre operates on Friday evenings between 5:00 and 7.30 pm. (some groups finish 8.00 pm). Its classes are held in parallel to the Victorian school year, with 4 terms and approximately 38 teaching weeks in the year. School holidays are also scheduled in accordance with those of the Victorian Schools’ calendar.
Teaching & Learning
The carefully designed lessons cater for the needs of each individual student and are delivered through an intensive and communicative approach. Direct focus is given in the areas/domains of listening/speaking, reading and writing. The flexibility of running small groups provide students with the opportunity to learn in a constructive and fun way, allowing them to gain confidence in expressing themselves in their own capacity.
The School offers its students with opportunities to come into contact with aspects of the Greek language and culture through Greek dancing lessons, documentary/film viewing, and immersion in authentic Greek environments. This may include trips to Greek Community centres in Melbourne and also trips to Greece in the future.
Structure of Lessons
During the weekly lessons, the students participate in the following activities:
- Listening/Viewing: Listening to native Greek language through conversations, discussions, songs, recitations, and viewing of films, documentaries and other children’s programs through the use of audio-visual materials.
- Speaking: Participating in conversations, discussing topics, rehearsing poems, and proverbs, and singing songs. Also, performing role plays, and giving short speeches and presentations on selected topics.
- Reading: Reading a wide range of texts, short stories, poems, book extracts, and articles.
- Writing: Writing simple and complex texts, diary journals, letters, essays, responding to questions, completing cloze activities, assignments, projects, etc.
Our students can use the learning technologies (eg. computers, internet) to enhance language skills. By accessing a variety of learning activities in the Interactive Classroom of our school website they can learn in a fun and easy way.
Students are provided with weekly homework and each individual student can complete the suggested homework activities according to their own ability. The homework is distributed at the end of each lesson. Parents can also access the homework in our website through the use of a password and then encourage their child/children to complete it.
We encourage students to complete their homework or at least attempt to do it. However, considering the children’s heavy weekly program in having to do a number of other extra-curricula activities such as sport, music, and other, we show understanding and accept them in doing as much as they can. In this case, the children discuss the difficulties with the teacher and then they both work out a program which will assist them in better planning the homework.
The teaching materials include worksheets and booklets prepared by our school and textbooks published by the University of Crete. These are based on the needs of children living in Australia.
Parents’ participation in Greek learning
Our parents are very valuable members of our school community. They are all encouraged to become members of our Parents’ Club and they have a voice in the school decision making. Our parents are regularly provided with notes with vocabulary and suggestions which can assist them in helping their children to communicate and interact in Greek in their family environment. This extension of the language at home helps children to become more confident and fluent, which in return helps them improve their Greek and achieve better at school. This program can help the whole family become involved in Greek learning. Parents can access their children’s homework on our school website by using a password. They can directly communicate with the teachers through email or by arranging an appointment before or after class each week.
The teachers involved in the delivery of lessons are highly qualified and experienced teachers with university degrees from Greece and Australia.
The school is managed by Mrs Andrea Garivaldis, Mr Iakovos Garivaldis assisted by the Zenon Parents’ Committee.