Since the beginning of the week, Australians across Victoria have been celebrating Cultural Diversity Week which aims to acknowledge and celebrate cultural diversity. Citizens of Victoria come from 200 countries, speak 260 languages and follow over 130 different faiths, but live harmoniously together.
This year, the theme underlying the Cultural Diversity Week is ‘Proud To Belong’, which encourages Victorians to consider what gives them a sense of belonging, why they are proud to Victorian and how they can be welcoming and inclusive to others.
We believe that cultural diversity is an extremely important to grasp and accept in the early years as young children are both responsive and motivated and feel a stronger sense of community when they are culturally aware. At Aurora Early Education, our little learners have been engaged in a variety of activities to celebrate Cultural Diversity Week.
On March 21st, many of Aurora’s students arrived at the center wearing cheery orange in a nod to it being Harmony Day which promotes ideas of unity in diversity, belonging, respect and inclusiveness.
To introduce the concept of recognising and respecting diversity, educators showed the children three different apples; a red one, a green one and a yellow one. The children were intrigued to see that when cut open, the apples looked exactly the same inside. Through this simple activity, educators were able to explain that humans too look different on the outside and speak different languages, they are similar on the inside and should all be given equal rights and opportunities.
Other activities that children were busy with in the day were making friendship chains with orange paper, learning Mandarin, making petal templates, inspecting our cultural artefacts corner and reading stories which celebrate differences.
At Aurora, our focus on the three pillars of ‘Connect’, ‘Care’ and ‘Create’ work together to help our children establish meaningful connections with each other, our educators, their families and their community.
Cultural respect and awareness is an extremely important part of this process, as through cultural celebrations, children feel a sense of belonging, establish stronger identities, strengthen empathy, form closer connections with their peers and community, and overall have a better emotional wellbeing.
We’re proud to have over 20 different cultures represented at our centre both in our learners and our educators. This gives us the chance to celebrate festivals with first hand insights. Most recently, we celebrated the Indian Holi festival, the Irish St Patrick’s Day, Australia Day and Chinese New Year. Through each of the celebrations our children learned about a range of cultures and the festivals’ significance.
We also hope, through Cultural Diversity Week and our activities through the year, we help our learners understand and develop their own cultures. As Sheela Edwards, CEO Aurora Early Education says “Culture is created by each of us, from our very thought, expression of emotions, conversations, the rhythm and flow of our interactions with everything around us, By the very fact that we are individually unique we create diversity. We simply need to consciously acknowledge this. I believe that is how we create a great culture for the present and the future.”