Stories and Activities for Harmony Week
19 Feb 2021
The United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination falls on 21 March, which also occurs during Harmony Week. An Australian Government initiative, Harmony Week runs from 15-21 March and aims to promote inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
In the lead up to Harmony Week, and to assist educators and families with helping children understand and empathise with the lives of others around them, we have put together dedicated story and activity collections. Each collection has a different focus that help children explore diversity, inclusion and belonging, which can be used independently or as a sequence. Discover all the stories below in our dedicated ‘Stories for Harmony Week 2021’ playlist, which you can find in your Story Box Library account.
After watching this collection, discuss the ways in which the characters from these stories are unique and diverse.
Work in pairs to discover five ways that you are similar or different to one another.
Use these stories to help you understand the experiences of others, by discussing the following questions:
What are some reasons that people leave their homes and start a new home in a another country?
What are some of the experiences migrants have on their journey to a new home?
What are some feelings experienced by migrants when they first arrive in a new place to live?
What are some acts of kindness others can show new community members to help them feel a sense of inclusion and belonging?
What are some ways that migrants can share their own experiences with their new community?
Imagine you share an experience with a character from one of these stories. Write a series of diary entries to describe your experience, including your life before you left, what you are forced to leave behind, how you would feel on the journey and in a new place.
Invite guest speakers to share their own personal experiences of moving to Australia from another country.
Find examples in these stories that demonstrate:
Cooperation and collaboration
Using diverse knowledge and skills to work with others
Use the examples in these stories to help you write a Recipe for Harmony.
Find characters in these stories that share similar traits and behaviours.
Discuss how Roy Bland, the Littlelight mayor and Queen Celine manage their communities and the reasons for their actions. Do these characters remind you of anyone else in your life or the world?
How do Harry Highpants, Stella and the Littlelight girl effect change in their community and what inspires them? Do these characters remind you of anyone else in your life or the world?
What causes the communities in these stories to change their thoughts, beliefs and attitudes, and how does this change affect the community.
Write a persuasive exposition on the topic, border walls keep us safe.
Research border walls that have or do exist in the world.
Reviewing Literature with a Diversity Lens
Look for ‘mirrors’: Find, view and share stories from Story Box Library that represent or reflect who you are and the experiences you’ve had in your life so far.
Look for ‘windows’: Find, view and share stories from Story Box Library where characters and their experiences are different to your own.
Analyse a selection of stories from Story Box Library, and determine people from your community who are represented in the story and those who are missing from the story.
Re-write a selected story to include characters who are missing from the story.
Work as a class to create a checklist of features a story should include to accurately represent your community.
While these activities focus on celebrating Harmony Week, and Australia’s unique multicultural society, Story Box Library is committed to celebrating Australia’s diverse society in all its forms, not just culturally. Additional stories that can be found in our library that celebrate diverse representation include:
Represent a range of diverse and authentic lived experiences.
Challenge cultural stereotypes that are inaccurate and misinformed.
Tell historically accurate accounts.
Include languages other than English, and show experiences of characters who speak English as a second language.
Dissolve division between genders.
Model empathy towards refugees and asylum seekers.
Celebrate individuality and diversity.
Show that the world is bigger than an individual’s lounge room.
Written by authors who represent minority backgrounds.
Are read by storytellers with varied and diverse backgrounds.