ANZAC Day is a national day of significance.  It is a day when we commemorate the efforts and valour of our defence forces, who for the past 100 years, have not only honourably represented, in military conflicts around the world, the political will of our nation,  but also have helped forge an Australian identity built on integrity, equality, ingenuity,  loyalty, compassion, mateship, fairness… 

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This identity grew at home and abroad; crystallizing during the first world war and the years following, when every town and almost every home in our young country had to deal with the enormous loss of life that changed the nation.  Australia’s service men and women have proudly built on those values and traditions throughout the past 100 years; as  have many of their families.

Of course Australia of 1915 was not the multicultural nation we have today.  Our culture and traditions have been enriched and have diversified over the past 100 years; through the collective efforts of citizens.  Developing an  understanding of what it is to be an Australian in 2015 and what we stand for collectively, requires understanding of others’ perspectives as much as valuing our heritage.  Aboriginal perspectives, for example, had no place in 1915 … and in 2015…?

How do we ( teachers and parents) make the most  of  important events, like ANZAC Day, with our children (students)?

Here are some  experiences that could be engaged in as a family and would enhance students’  learning in this area of the curriculum:

  • explore time lines by examining family histories, personal histories … photos are a good starting point, as are grandparents. Explore calendars and timetables. Together, plan and chart events, parties, holidays.
  • together examine how things have changed over time.  Any technology is a good starting point. The neighbourhood is also good. Fashion, gender, the law, may be good to explore with older children
  • use and make floor plans and maps of home, local areas, holiday spots. Locate countries on a map. Develop concepts of distance and scale and elevated (aerial) view. Geocaching, treasure hunts, orienteering…
  • explore how decisions are made at home and how decision making power may be /  is shared for the benefit of all.
  • with older children discuss concepts of peace, human rights, ethics, justice, courage, contestability (who’s history is it and how do can it be verified?), the economy,  loyalty…

 The Australian Curriculum: Humanities and Social Sciences  gives  the key ideas  which are developed  by teachers, mainly  through History and Geography,  right from reception year level:

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  • Who we are, who came before us, and traditions and values that have shaped societies

Students explore their own identity, Australia’s heritage and cultural diversity, and Australia’s identity as a nation in the world. They examine the significance of traditions and shared values within society.

  • How societies and economies operate and how they are changing over time

Students learn about Australian society and other societies in the world, both past and present; and how they function socially, culturally, economically, and politically. Students examine developments that are bringing about change.

  • The ways people, places, ideas and events are perceived and connected

Students are provided with opportunities to explore different perceptions of people, places, ideas and events. They develop an understanding of the interdependent nature of the world and the interrelationships within and between the natural environment, human communities, and economies. They explore how people, ideas and events are connected over time and increasingly interconnected across local, national, regional and global contexts.

  • How people exercise their responsibilities, participate in society and make informed decisions

Students examine how individuals and groups have participated in and contributed to society past and present. They examine the rights and responsibilities of individuals and groups over time and in different contexts. They develop an understanding of the need to make decisions, the importance of ethical considerations and being informed when making decisions, the processes for decision-making and the implications of decisions that are made for individuals, society, the economy


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