TWO schools, separated by more than 7,000 miles, came together to celebrate their cultural differences on Thursday (March 1).
Jetting off to distant shores was something keen youngsters at Rustington Community Primary School were imagining, during their Sri Lanka day.
Set up as part of Rustington’s global schools partnership, the day gave hundreds of children an insight into the daily lives of Sri Lankan youngsters at the Mahanama Junior School.
Rustington’s school, in North Lane, was awash with the shades of the Sri Lankan flag – red, orange and green – with pupils and teachers encouraged to wear the colours.
In the morning, children from years one and two began a day of exploration in Sri Lanka after they “caught a flight” to the country from their classroom’s own airport.
Year-two teacher and international co-ordinator, Vicky Bowman, said: “They had an absolutely brilliant time.
“We turned the classroom into an airport, where the children created their own packing lists and passports for the trip.
“They keep asking me when they will be going back to Sri Lanka. It was magical.”
Others at the school learnt simple phrases in Sinhala and Tamil, two of the country’s most widely-used dialects.
Pupils from across the school were taught traditional Sri Lankan customs, from eating with their right hand and taking their shoes off inside, to meditation. Some youngsters even had a chance to try some Sri Lankan tea, before learning about the country’s wildlife and geography.
Vicky said that she wanted to build ties with the Sri Lankan junior school and that the event was the perfect way to do that.
She said: “We have been cultivating this relationship for more than a year, as part of our global schools partnership.
“This event helped to bring to life our connection with the school. It was also a chance to help the children learn about ethnic groups and cultures, which they may not encounter in Littlehampton or Rustington.”
Vicky added that photos of the day would be sent to the overseas school and that pupils would be taking part in a penpal scheme, later this year.