It’s hard to believe what is happening in the world right now. Combined with the unrest of the last few years, it feels like we need to embrace harmony now more than ever.
We believe that no human being is born to feel prejudiced against another child. As educators, we all see first-hand every day the enormous capacity children have for love. Harmony Day is coming up on 21 March, kicking off Harmony Week in Australia – the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves of the crucial importance of inclusiveness, respect and creating a sense of belonging and to be proactive as educators.
Children learn and can unlearn prejudices
Research shows that it is during the pre-school years that children begin to notice differences between themselves and other children. This might be pertaining to the colour of their peers’ skin, another physical difference such as a limb difference or even something like a birthmark. It could relate to someone’s behaviour or development, or even the clothes they wear or food preferences.
While side-stepping these subjects and seemingly awkward questions and comments can seem like a good option, there is a better way. After all, to notice a difference is not to resent it or fear it. Children are curious by nature! What we can do is ensure we are equipped to offer simple explanations and answers for children. This can empower them to acknowledge a difference.
Embracing diversity overcomes fear and brings joy
The earlier we can incorporate more exposure to diversity, the better. This means colours, textures, languages, foods, cultures — there are so many areas where we can explore the concept that different doesn’t equal bad or scary or threatening.
You might like to get practical with explorations of diversity in childcare services. Interestingly, food can be a fun way to do so. Consider getting children to each observe a piece of fruit — let’s say, an apple. Describe it: some might be green, some red, some bruised and so on. Then cut them open to prepare for a snack — now children can see that all the fruit was the same after all, even though it looked different! Take it further by adding the apples to a fruit salad with lots of other types of fruits that look, feel and taste different. But, how these different things all come together to make something amazing!
Special access to new free resources
We have a special song to share with you to celebrate Harmony Day and Harmony Week in 2022. It’s called ‘Let’s Celebrate’ and we invite you to listen to it and sing it with children not just for Harmony Week but throughout the year.
Sing it out loud with pride and celebrate our humanity!
We also invite you to join the Music Kinder at Home closed Facebook group. There are so many free practical resources for you to access and an abundance of inspiration for early childhood educators as well as parents. Our latest resources for Harmony Day include fun ideas to support early literacy, numeracy, creativity, just to name a few.
Let’s encourage peace and embrace diversity to create a more harmonious world for us all.