KIND: songs and stories to promote cultural empathy

A proactive, year-long program for primary school students combating bias and racism. Led by Kids Thrive artists and diversity conversation leaders in partnership with schools and agencies in the Hobsons Bay region linking to AusVELS.

‘If every school had something like this, and the money was put towards programs like this, in twenty year’s time we would be living in a different society.’ Sharon Doyle, Teacher, St Dominic’s Primary School


About the Program

Kids thrive in diverse communities.

KIND is a school-based cultural diversity and empathy program that leads children to recognise, embrace and celebrate their differences, and to recognise and take action against unfairness.

Encouraging children ‘to be KIND’ and to feel ‘of a KIND’, whilst acknowledging we are each ‘one of a KIND’, this unique program uses arts-based workshops, facilitated anti-bias activities and conversations, multiple community concerts and professional development training for teachers to engage children, families and education professionals in positive, creative, celebratory interactions and dialogue about culture, diversity, fairness and empathy.

KIND empowers children to control their destiny by choosing positive alternatives to conflict. Drawing on contemporary research around anti-bias and race-based discrimination, and informed by issues directly affecting the communities in which it is placed, the program takes a creative approach to sensitive cultural issues, promoting dialogue through songs, stories and performance, and connecting children into notions of global citizenship. By starting the conversation with the child, KIND impacts the family and the community, contributing to building a harmonious society.

KIND brings together educators, multicultural specialists (including refugee family mentors, multicultural classroom aides, diversity conversation leaders and community educators), and Kids Thrive cultural development artists to deliver the program in classrooms across the school year. Piloted in 2013/2014 KIND is currently being delivered in the Altona North area of the Hobsons Bay region in Melbourne. It builds on Louise Derman Spark’s ground-breaking Anti-Bias Curriculum, a practical resource for educators that focuses on:

  1. Self-esteem and valuing my own culture
  2. Noticing and valuing differences
  3. Noticing unfair behaviour attributed to those differences
  4. Taking action against unfairness

Program Aims

  • Introduce intercultural creative activity and conversation
  • Relieve children from the burden of perpetuating historic or cultural anger, fear and discrimination
  • Provide harmonious interfaith community events
  • Build the capacity of teachers and professionals to promote interfaith dialogue
  • Inspire the community to create a new cultural vision for their future
  • Deepen connections between cultures, children and adults

Program Outcomes

All children who participated in the 2014 program demonstrated improvement across all focus areas, with the children demonstrating significant improvement in:

  • Self-confidence – 87% improvement
  • Sharing aspects of their own culture – 89% improvement
  • Understanding and acceptance of difference – 81% improvement
  • Capacity to recognise unfairness – 80% improvement
  • Capacity to take action against unfairness – 63% improvement


  • From 2013 to 2016, KIND has been delivered in the Hume, Moreland, Wyndham and Hobsons Bay regions of Melbourne; at St Dominic’s Primary in Broadmeadows, Holy Child in Dallas, Corpus Christi in Glenroy, Campbellfield Heights Primary, Our Lady of the Southern Cross Primary, Manor Lakes College, Wyndham Park Primary, Altona North Primary School and Bayside P-12 College.
  • The program has directly engaged over 400 grade one to five students plus their teachers, families and the broader community.
  • Also in 2016, Kids Thrive Creative Directors also delivered Professional Development workshops to early childhood professionals in the Hume region focusing on the KIND methodology


Awarded NAB Schools First Award 2013

Additional Footage and Information

‘They don’t make us being racist, or being naughty people, they just made us be ourselves.’ Marisa, Grade 2 student

‘If every school had something like this, and the money was put towards programs like this, in twenty year’s time we would be living in a different society.’ Sharon Doyle, Teacher, St Dominic’s Primary School

KIND in Hobsons Bay

2016 Delivery Partners – schools and agencies:

Altona North Primary School | Bayside P-12 College, Altona North Campus
Hobsons Bay City Council | IPC Health

2016 Funding Partners

Australia Council for the Arts | Ian Potter Foundation
Sidney Myer Fund | The Angior Family Foundation | The R E Ross Trust
Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT)

KIND in Hume

2016 Delivery and Funding Partner – agency:

Hume City Council