Australia is a beautiful, colourful, multicultural country and Harmony Day is a yearly celebration of Australia’s cultural diversity. The word harmony means working together and existing without conflict, and this is the basis of the central theme of Harmony Day; treating all people as equals and celebrating our differences.
The key purpose of Harmony Day is to share stories and celebrate cultural traditions to create communities where everyone belongs. It is a day of respect and appreciation for the diverse range of people who call Australia home and is marked by events that celebrate the unique cultures that have shaped our country into the place it is today.
In essence, Harmony Day is a rejection of prejudice and racism, and a symbol of the continual effort we must make together to create a welcoming and accepting future for everyone.
This is a message that resonates deeply with us here at Choklits, and it gives us great joy to share with you the activities and discussions that our kindergarteners had about Harmony Day.
Sam, our assistant educator in our kindergarten room, led the Harmony Day activities at our centre. The central theme chosen for discussion was ‘belonging’, and Sam initiated a dialogue about the many different cultures of the people at Choklits, both the staff and the children. She guided the children to think about the things that make them different; their names, likes and dislikes, clothes, families and physical features, like eye, skin and hair colour.
Sam then talked about how some of these things relate to our culture, and how the different cultures of children were together in the kindergarten room, all belonging together. This discussion is one we feel is very important; to remind children that belonging does not come from sameness, but rather from shared kindness and friendship.
Our central Harmony Day activity was making a poster with the children’s handprints and the lyrics from the chorus of the song ‘I am Australian’. We chose this song as it is a symbol of Australia and its people; it embodies our multicultural nation’s beauty and inclusivity.
We came back to the discussion from earlier, of our individual identity and the things that make us who we are, and each child traced their handprint on a piece of paper to symbolise their individual self.
Through conversation with the educators and each other, the children gained an understanding of different colours and cultures. They then selected five different colours to paint each finger of their hand, which is symbolic of different races, cultures and people all belonging together.
Each child then glued their hand onto our poster, as a visual representation of the all the different cultures and people that make up Australia. We discussed how the many different colours on the poster made it beautiful, and more interesting than if all the handprints were the same.
Another key point of our discussion was to garner an understanding of harmony by explaining that all the different cultures in Australia are the result of people coming from different places and having different traditions and that we all belong together.
We extended the Harmony Day activities by using the ‘skin colour pencils set’, which includes an inclusive range of tones, so every child could draw themselves and their friends with the colours that reflected their identities. This sparked a discussion about how skin and hair colour are part of our identity and are a way for us to represent ourselves in art. For example, some of the children drew Sam, and explained that their pictures showed that it was her through the use of the brown pencil for her skin.
The children showed an understanding of different skin colours, and that skin and hair colour can show that people are from different places. We talked about the diversity of skin and hair colours they and their friends had, and that they were all playing together in the kindergarten room.
Sam also led a conversation about the different countries the children at Choklits are from, and how though some of their parents were born in Australia and some are from another country, we are all Australian.
We hope you enjoyed reading about our Harmony Day activities and the ways in which Choklits are encouraging inclusivity, kindness and the celebration of our differences. Happy Harmony Day!