March 27, 2020
Harmony Day is a celebration of Australian cultural diversity. It gives early childhood education an opportunity to celebrate inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for all Australians, from the traditional owners of the land to those who have come from many countries around the world.
Harmony Day is organised by the Australian Government and is a day to celebrate our culturally diverse society on 21 March every year. The colour orange symbolises and supports cultural diversity. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect.
The continuing message of Harmony Day is ‘Everyone Belongs’. It is about community participation, inclusiveness, celebrating diversity, respect and belonging.
It is so important our children are encouraged to respect and embrace cultural differences, especially when our Centre embraces our culturally diversity.
Australia’s cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. Multicultural Australia is an important part of our national identity. All people who migrate to Australia can bring with them their own cultural and religious traditions, as well as taking on many new traditions. Collectively, these traditions have enriched our nation.
Harmony Day is a significant annual day when Australians come together and celebrate our nation’s cultural diversity. In Cooinda we read a story by Mem Fox called, ‘Whoever You Are’, and spoke with the children about friendship. We discussed what it means to be a friend and reflected on our class Essential Agreement, ‘Sharing, Caring, Thinking’. The children spent time using crayons and watercolour to draw and paint a picture of themselves with their friend and share with us what they like to do together.
In Elanora and Marana, the children thought about how they can be a good friend and how important it is to make people feel welcome in our play. To document our learning and understanding the children drew and painted self-portraits, reminding them of the importance of inclusiveness.
Through exploring the meaning of friendship and what it means to be ‘kind’, we also looked at the diversity within our families and shared our art pieces that represented ourselves and our place amongst our family members.
Childhood friendships are at the heart of children’s learning process. Through their friendships, children learn to listen, to imitate, to co-operate, share ideas, develop creativity and learn life skills, such as sharing, taking turns and being considerate to one another. We look forward to continuing exploring these values of Harmony week throughout the year as we embed these beliefs and culture within our TIGS Prep community.
What a joy it has been this past term to notice new friendships being forged, and others further enhanced.
In light of the pandemic currently facing our world, inclusiveness, acceptance and connection have never been more important to promote.
We are all in this together.