A community is a happier one when the people within it contribute in a positive way. Aussie of the Month is a free program that recognises young students who are doing exactly that in their school.
In recent years, primary school educators will have observed that students are caring more about their community and becoming more aware of the impact they can make from a younger age – think Greta Thunberg or Malala Yousafzai, who have taken community involvement to a whole new level.
As a result, students have begun actively contributing to their communities in their own individual ways. For example, they may voluntarily help a fellow student with a task, become more committed to keeping the environment clean and tidy, or even take steps to make an impact on the wider community.
“The younger sibling to the prestigious Australian of the Year Awards, the Aussie of the Month national school program is being used to explore Civics and Citizenship in the Australian Curriculum.”
Such behaviour is celebrated by award program, Aussie of the Month. Provided free to all primary schools across Australia, Aussie of the Month recognises outstanding contribution to the school community and broader society, rewarding students who display values such as respect, inclusion, mateship, and a fair go for all.
“Our students are awarded for demonstrating these four values inside and outside of the classroom,” says Sarah Johnstone, Aussie of the Month coordinator at Hornsby North Public School in NSW.
“Students who are consistently demonstrating these values and going the extra step to be a great citizen are nominated by their teachers. The recognition of Aussie of the Month is something our students are really proud of.”
AUSSIE OF THE MONTH
The younger sibling to the prestigious Australian of the Year Awards, the Aussie of the Month national school program is being used to explore Civics and Citizenship in the Australian Curriculum.
It’s enhanced by the opportunity to have Australian of the Year alumni inspire and spur students on at school assemblies before the Aussie of the Month is announced.
Alumni available for virtual visits includes, but is not limited to, 2023 Australia’s Local Hero, Amar Singh, who founded Turbans 4 Australia; 2021 Australia’s Local Hero, Rosemary Kariuki, who supports new migrants; and 2015 Australia’s Local Hero, Juliette Wright, founder of Givit.
“Aussie of the Month is focused on contribution to community rather than academic or sporting achievements, so it’s such a great way to recognise all children,” says Karlie Brand, CEO of National Australia Day Council, which delivers the Australian of the Year Awards.
“This is why it is supported by outstanding Australian of the Year Awards alumni, who make the program even more special with messages of congratulations to the students.”
For its capacity to demonstrate the importance of community contribution and spread positivity, Aussie of the Month is highly regarded among school staff, students, and parents alike. Recipients are so delighted that they go to bed wearing their badge (provided as part of the free awards kit along with a certificate and stationery). Coordinators are able to boost students who don’t necessarily excel traditionally out of a textbook.
“There’s less of a focus on academic achievement and more on socials skills and showing good leadership,” says the Aussie of the Month coordinator at Doncaster Gardens Primary School in Victoria.
“It’s important in society to teach students the value of care and empathy, so we reward that behaviour and show them to be role models. It’s a really nice way to reward a student who’s a good citizen and doing something extra in the community.”
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Schools can register any time of year to receive their free Aussie of the Month kit to reward one student per month from February to November. Kits are automatically sent each school year, so schools don’t need to re-register every year. After the Aussie of the Month is selected, the recipient is announced at the regular school assembly. There is advice and support on running the program, such as how to choose each recipient, on the Aussie of the Month website.
Join nearly 1,400 schools today and start celebrating active citizenship and community contribution in your students.
For further information, visit: www.aussieofthemonth.org.au
- Australian of the Year alumni now visiting schools
- Recognising active citizenship in Aussie students