Saturday, March 20, 2010
Let's Celebrate Harmony
Tomorrow is Harmony Day in Australia. Harmony Day promotes the benefits of cultural diversity and celebrates Australia's cohesiveness and inclusivity.
The continuing message of Harmony Day is ‘Everyone Belongs’. It's about community participation, inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
This year, the theme is "express yourself", probably two of my most favourite words in the English language. By encouraging our kids to express themselves, we are helping them develop their creative side and their communication skills. Whether they do this through dance, art, writing, sculpture, choreography, or building with toothpicks and marshmallows, what matters is all those wonderful opportunities for creative skill development.
At the Harmony Day website, there are some useful resources for parents and teachers that might guide you toward activities you can do to celebrate harmony. Find lesson ideas for primary students and early childhood,and detailed lesson plans. There are two quiz type games on the interactive games page, and some interesting activities as pdfs on the activities page.
I truly believe that respect and acceptance of all cultures comes from mutual understanding. As parents and teachers, one way we can promote this is by sharing great children's literature with our kids, the sorts of books that allow children to walk a mile in someone else's shoes. Dawn Morris has a great list of books that promote cultural diversity and tolerance at her MomsInspireLearning blog. Travelling to different countries is not within everyone's budget, but how about travelling to different neighbourhoods? In a culturally diverse country like Australia, it's not difficult to find people whose clothes and customs are different from our own. Seeking out people from a range of cultures not only helps our kids become more tolerant and empathetic, it enriches all our lives.
It seems to me Harmony Day is a perfect opportunity to indulge in a few of my favourite things - world music, art, conversation and great food! I can feel a party coming on. How about you? Any ideas for cultivating harmony within your family or neighbourhood?