2015 at a Glance – KIND

‘I loved being fair’.
‘I loved how everyone learned a life-long lesson about being fair.’
‘I learnt how to be fair to other cultures no matter what.’
‘I learnt that we should be kind [to people] even when they are different!’

In 2015, Kids Thrive artists and cultural conversation leaders hit the highway as part of the KIND: Songs and Stories for Cultural Empathy project, traversing the borders of government and Catholic schools in Hume and Wyndham to have deep conversations with over 140 grade 2 to 4 children about cultural difference, racism, fairness, and what to do when they encounter unfairness in their lives.

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KIND in Wyndham songwriting workshops. Image: Carla Gottgens

These weekly conversations led to the students and artists putting their heads together to write 6 original songs of welcome and fairness, each a foot-stomping, heart-clenching clarion call from our youngest change-makers and culture-shakers on making a kinder and fairer world.

Her hands are black, mine are white
Dark lines, light lines, no need to fight
Understand this with all my might
Day and night, it’ll be all right
Ways That We’re Different – Grade 4 students, Manor Lakes P-12 College, Wyndham Vale

KIND empowers children to control their destiny by choosing positive alternatives to conflict.

The program uses Louise Derman-Spark’s four-step anti-bias framework to explore self-esteem and cultural pride (1), notice differences (2), notice any unfairness attributed to those differences (3) and take action for fairness (4).

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KIND in Hume. Image: Angela Bailey

This year, the students’ learnt about the 50-year anniversary of The Freedom Rides for Aboriginal rights, led by Charlie Perkins in 1965.  They used this to explore how there has been unfairness in Australia, and a long history of people taking action against unfairness around race.

So they bought a bus –
Fighting for fairness
And making a fuss.
Angry, sad I think it’s unfair.
I care for all people
We share the same air.

Being equal and treated the same,
We should be kind ‘cos
Mean’s not our aim.
Helping each other standing strong
Together is where we all belong

Get on the bus
Yalla Yalla come on, come on!
Get on the bus
Hayo Hayo, come with us!
Get on the bus
Đi Đi let’s go, go go!
Get on the bus
Haydi askim together with me!
Get on the bus
Get on the Bus – Grade 2 and 3 students, Campbellfield Heights Primary School

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KIND in Wyndham, final concert. Image: Angela Bailey

Guided by Kids Thrive artist Jo Trevathan and cultural conversation leader David Henry from the Migrant Resource Centre NW Region (in Hume), and artist Jennie Swain and cultural conversation leaders Shukria Alewi and Casey Northam (in Wyndham), the children participated in often difficult conversations about racism and its impacts. The original songs grew out of these conversations, using the children’s words, and reflecting a depth of emotional and cultural literacy developed over the course of the program that has spilled from classroom to playground.

Why did they call it a free country?
Why did they call it free?
Not everybody could eat at the restaurant
Not all Australians could be
Where they wanted to be
Why did they call it free?
Freedom is Go – Grade 3/4 students, Wyndham Park Primary School, Werribee

Click here to listen to the songs from KIND in Hume, and here for songs from KIND in Wyndham.