‘Really powerful’: free program for schools tackles racism and discrimination

A new program that seeks to educate Year 5, 6 and 7 students about the dangers of racism, prejudice, discrimination and bystander behaviour is empowering children to connect with their own values and create positive change, while coming to better understand the atrocities of the past.

Launched by charity Courage to Care, the free Middle Years Upstander Program is currently rolling out to Victorian schools, and according to program facilitator Lani Brayer the age-appropriate content is having real cut through with participants.

Terminology and key concepts are firstly unpacked, Brayer explains.

“We go into trying to work out the difference between stereotyping, prejudice, discrimination and racism. And we give them the terms and then the definitions…

“And then we show them that racism is a form of discrimination, so we want them to understand also that we have racial discrimination, we have homophobic discrimination, we have ageism, which is discrimination against age.

“We have a list of about 10 things that come under forms of discrimination, of which racism is one…”

Students’ deepening understanding is tested with a powerful cartoon from 1965, which presents the infamous Moree swimming pool, a place which once banned Aboriginal people from entry and later came to highlight the legalised segregation and racism experienced by Indigenous Australians.

Read the article on EducationHQ.