New app teaches eight-year-olds about racism

A new app for primary school children is aiming to reduce incidents of schoolyard racism.

Racism app

Children will learn about stereotyping and prejudice Source: Corbis Historical

One in five Australian school students experience racism, with children from non-English speaking backgrounds recording the highest number of cases, according to a 2014 .

The new Kids Together Now app, by anti-racism charity All Together Now, is designed to reduce these figures by taking children between the ages of eight and 10 through a series of stories that address stereotyping and racial prejudices.

Managing director Priscilla Brice tells SBS she hopes the app will “help children understand what racism is and what they can do about it”.

“Eight to 10-year-olds are at a particular stage in their development where they start to understand difference and understand justice, which is why this app is targeted to that group."

Available on mobile, tablet and desktop, the program can be taught over an entire school term and helps meet the Australian curriculum’s goals.

Students work through the app individually, progressing through a series of scenarios that starts with one about a child who is new at school, and finishes with another that explores representation.

An accompanying teacher’s pack is designed to facilitate a classroom discussion after the completion of each scenario.

that came out of Western Sydney University shows that 50 per cent of teachers have never had any anti-racism training in their entire career,” Ms Brice said.

“So we also wanted to give this as a support to teachers so they can have discussions about racism in the classroom.”

The program is the evolution of a one called Everyday Racism that was released in 2013 to target 18 to 24-year-olds.

Celebrating cultural practices

Vanessa Song’s background is Chinese and Chilean and she remembers finding lunchtime difficult in primary school.

“I would bring food from home and it would be all this interesting food and it would look different from all the peanut butter sandwiches and have a really strong smell,” she told SBS.

“Kids would scrunch up their nose so I started forming this idea that I didn’t really want to bring lunch to school anymore, I wanted to buy it from the tuckshop.”

Now 21 and the ethno-cultural officer at the University of Sydney Union, Vanessa has embraced her family’s cooking and hopes to see food and other culturally significant practices celebrated in schools.

“Australia is such a multicultural country, we should be educating kids on what differences there are and that it’s ok to be different and have food that doesn’t smell like a peanut butter sandwiches,” she says.

She also believes it’s important to ensure, “teachers are not just showing tolerance but acceptance of the difference cultures and their practices, religions and food, etc”.

3 min read
Published 26 October 2016 at 5:37pm
By Bianca Soldani