World of Welcome (WOW) orientation day took place in 19 schools of Peel District School Board during the last week of August, 2016. The program is funded by IRCC and is run by settlement workers, teachers and peer student leaders in collaboration with PDSB and settlement agencies. The SWIS workers from Polycutural Immigrant and Community Services led the WOW orientation day at 4 high schools: Stephen Lewis Secondary, John Fraser Secondary, and Mississauga Secondary school. The WOW program aimed to ease the transition for newcomer students and families entering the school system by providing orientation activities and information sessions.
Using peer led model, the peer volunteers who speak a variety of languages explained various school routines to newcomer students. WOW activities included a tour through the school, trivia game, students blue prints, how to navigate gym class, how to use lockers and locks, and morning routines. Students also learned about school events, clubs and graduation requirements, school agenda and inclement weather routines. A parent session provided families with information about community resources and programs offered by Polycultural and other community organizations. A survey filled out by the participants at the end of the program showed highly positive feedback proving the popularity of the program among newcomer students and families.
CBC reported on Mississauga Secondary WOW day: http://www.cbc.ca/1.3745228
On September 1, 2016 the iFun orientation program took place at Dufferin Peel Catholic District School Board. Polycultural SWIS workers organized the program at Our Lady of Mount Carmel which was the hub school for Aloysius Gonzaga and St. Joan of Arc Secondary schools. The program helped newly arrived students prepare for school and gave them a chance to meet new friends. Students received valuable information about the school system. They participated in different activities and games led by peer leaders. Settlement workers held an information session for parents and presented on community programs, services and resources. At the end of the day, participants felt much more at ease starting school on Sep. 6th, 2016.
Polycultural Board of Directors, management and staff would like to congratulate the SWIS Team on their great work during this year’s WOW and iFun orientation days. The newcomer families appreciated your attention, care and information you presented. Thank you all for the preparation and dedication you put into this project. Have a wonderful new school year!