For those of you not in the know, ANZAC stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. Every year on April 25th this day is used to remember the fallen from these two nations. The reason for the date is that this was the day in 1915 that Australian and New Zealand troops were led onto Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey. I will not go into details here of what took place, but if you would like to read more about it visit the Australian War Memorial site.
What I do want to share is that this day is one of the most significant on the Australian calendar. For this reason I believe it is important for young children to have the opportunity to learn about its significance and the history behind it. Despite the subject matter being quite grave it is still possible to explore this with preschoolers.
A few years ago I worked at a service that was located in a town that was also home to an army base and museum. Consequently one of our dads was a soldier. As we approached Anzac Day I asked if would be willing to talk to the children about why the day is important to him and what he would be doing on the day.
Again, I won't go into too much detail. Suffice to say the children were engrossed and listened intently to all he had to say. I later found out how much this experienced had touched some of the children and their families. No less then 6 of the children and their parents attended the Dawn Service the following morning. For four of these sets of parents it was also the first Dawn Service they had attended. All because their children couldn't stop talking about their visitor and what he had to say.
Every individual and service will have to decide for themselves if this is the sort of topic they would discuss with their children, but I would suggest that these are exactly the teachable moments we look for. If we trust children to make informed choices and take considered risks during their play then I believe we should For me, this was a worthwhile experience that incorporated the astounding knowledge of a father. Coincidentally I recently posted about engaging fathers more. It was also a wonderful way to include and raise awareness of an important part of the local community, the army.