In perfect harmony
IF YOUNG children playing together is the first step on the road to tolerance and understanding, there was plenty of it at Northern Rivers Family Day Care in Lismore to mark Harmony Day yesterday.
Harmony Day cele- brates the inclusive nature of Australia and promotes a tolerant and culturally diverse society.
It began in 1999.
Orange is the colour chosen to represent the day and youngsters at the Lismore centre were encouraged to get into the spirit of the occasion.
Northern Rivers Family Day Care director Jane Isenhood said children at the daily playgroup gained a sense of belonging.
"The educators talk to the older children about being friends and many have some understanding of what it (Harmony Day) is all about," she said.
"They are shown how to play together, how to work together and it goes a long way toward them accepting each other."
A family day care scheme is a network of experienced and registered educators who care for other people's children in their own homes.
The Northern Rivers organisation co-ordinates about 1600 children aged between six weeks and 12 years in the Lismore and Tweed regions comprising groups of up to five being cared for in home environments.
With the theme for Harmony Day this year being "Sport: Play, Engage, Inspire", it was appropriate that Bundjalung elder Wayne Walker, of Kyogle, was there to show the kids his boomerangs.
Mr Walker is the father of former Gold Coast Titans NRL player Shannon Walker.
Wayne Walker helps out at the Jarjum pre-school in Lismore as a bus driver and makes boomerangs at his business Walker's Arts and Crafts.
Harmony Day yesterday was also the Inter- national Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The Federal Race Discrimination commissioner, Dr Helen Szoke, called upon all Australians to battle racism in the community.
"In recent years the nation has progressed greatly in dealing with racism and enhancing multi-culturalism and harmony. Now is not the time to be complacent," she said.
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