In the light of recent world events, it seems even more important to be talking with and supporting the children in our care to reflect on, understand and embrace difference. In partnership with some early childhood and child care services, the NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency has interviewed a range of children.

We are pleased to be able to share the first of these children’s voices on Harmony Day.

Francesca and Faresha are both 8.5 years old.

Do you know anyone who’s different?
“Yeah, we’re all different. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being the same. I guess nobody is the same because everyone’s different even twins have different features.” Francesca
“Yes.” Faresha

Why are they different?
“My friend is like dark haired, dark skinned and dark eyed and we’re really good friends.” Francesca
“Because they are from another country and another culture.” Faresha
Do you think you are different?
“Yes. I’m blondie brown haired, blue-eyed, and like different colours. I’m different to lots of people. I guess you’re born as you are. You can’t change that. Unless you do something unnatural like body paint or hair dye yourself.”Francesca
“My parents are from another country. Bangladesh…. It is the old country.” Faresha
Have you ever played with anyone who is different?
“I’ve played with many friends that are different. Even when they look the same they can still have different choices, different shape of body more freckles, less freckles. I like playing with lots of kids. Tan skin, peach skin, white skin, not many freckles. We all have at least one thing the same. We all have a life and we can have fun together at least sometimes!” Francesca
“Yes I do.” Faresha
What is it like to play with friends that are different?
“It’s just the same as when you play with people that look more similar to you.” Francesca
“It’s fun. We play and sometimes two of my friends fight. I don’t know. I try to fix it. I try to help both of them. Once I fighted with my friend but then I fixed it. I think. Sometimes when I get too annoyed I tell a teacher.”  Faresha

Reflective questions for educators:
  • How do you support children to have their voice about ‘differences’ heard by other children, families and educators?
  • How do you support children to translate their voice and views into action?
  • When engaging in conversations with children, how do you support the conversation to unfold?
  • How do you respond when children answer in a way that may be different to what you anticipated or differ strongly from your own views?