A special ANZAC project has captured the imagination – and voices – of pre-schoolers at ACG Sunderland.
The young children, aged from 2-5, have been learning about ANZAC in preparation for the annual ANZAC memorial assembly taking place at the school this week.
As well as talking about the significance of ANZAC and learning about the symbols and traditions surrounding the commemorations, the children have been rehearsing the national anthem to sing at the assembly.
“Our children have a real love for music and one of our teachers plays the violin so we have practised the national anthem,” said ACG Sunderland Pre-school Head Teacher Mary Hardiman. “The children can sing both the Māori and English verses with pride and passion.”
As part of the Ministry of Education’s and Fields of Remembrance Trust’s ANZAC activity, the pre-school received a WW1 Commemoration Package, including three small white crosses to honour the men and women who died serving New Zealand during WW1. ACG Sunderland Early Childhood Educator Mayling Wang has been teaching the children to make origami poppies. Once the poppies are finished, the children have been respectfully laying their flowers in front of the crosses to form a memorial garden, and have made a wreath of poppies to take with them to the assembly.
“As a school, we feel it is important that children learn about ANZAC Commemorations,” Hardiman explained. “We value respect and tradition and this is entrenched in all that we do from Pre-school to College.”
And how do the pre-schoolers feel about attending the assembly alongside the big kids? “They know they will be seeing their friends in the primary and will also look to the college pupils to know what to do,” Hardiman said. “They are very pleased with themselves.”
ACG Sunderland Principal Nathan Villars said he was proud to see the whole school, from the preschool to the college, getting behind this commemoration. “It is great that the younger children are looking to the older ones for guidance. It highlights the special nature and family feel of the school, and really demonstrates our school values of aspire, succeed and respect.”