In 2016, the Australian Human Rights Commission developed its first series of early childhood education resources. ‘Building Belonging’ is a comprehensive toolkit of resources which includes an ebook, song with actions, educator guide, posters and lesson plans, focussed on encouraging respect for cultural diversity and tackling racial prejudice in early childhood settings.
National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell and Federal Senator Malarndirri McCarthy launched the suite of early childhood education resources at Early Childhood Australia’s biennial conference in Darwin in October.
Speaking at the launch, Commissioner Mitchell reminded the audience of the crucial importance of addressing racial prejudice and encouraging respect and inclusion from the earliest possible age.
“Children are never too young to start learning about their rights,” said Commissioner Mitchell.
“Children’s learning experiences shape their thinking and values. Children who grow up knowing that they have rights will carry the messages of respect and dignity that accompany this knowledge into adulthood.”
Senator McCarthy also stressed the importance of providing children with the opportunity to learn about the cultural diversity that is central to our national identity.
“Australia is a vibrant, multicultural country,” said Senator McCarthy.
“We are home to the world’s oldest continuous cultures – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures – as well as people who identify with more than 270 ancestries. It is important that young children in Australia today grow up with an appreciation and respect for the diversity of cultures, races and ethnicities that surround them.
“Early childhood education provides the ideal setting for children to learn about different cultures and form friendships with people from a wide range of backgrounds.”
‘Building Belonging’ expands on the Commission’s work with Early Childhood Australia and an advisory group of early childhood specialists to develop ‘Supporting young children’s rights: Statement of Intent (2015-2018)’.
The entire ‘Building Belonging’ toolkit of resources can be downloaded from this website at: http://humanrights.gov.au/building-belonging.
Watch the song "Colours of Australia"