Harmony Week offers an opportunity for workplaces to think deeply about diversity and inclusion
As children around Australia prepare to wear orange, share food from their country of origin, and wear outfits that reflect their heritage in honour of Harmony Week, there is an opportunity for workplaces, including those in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector, to reflect on their practices of diversity and inclusion, and consider more deeply how all those in their teams are supported.
Research indicates that businesses of all kinds perform well when employees feel included and their workplace is strongly committed to supporting diversity, and with around 45 per cent of Australians born overseas or with at least one parent who was, Harmony Week has always been a popular way for workplaces to showcase and acknowledge their cultural diversity.
Considering more deeply in this space may mean some reflection on how workplace diversity is showcased year round – is it simply a morning tea once a year, with “other” foods? Is diversity asking an educator who speaks the same first language as a child to act as a translator, or does diversity look deeper, into meaningfully embedding culture and practices from around the world into day to day operations?
For those services who choose to engage with Harmony Week as an initial point of engagement, celebrations can take on many forms from simple to challenging.
Many services begin with a morning tea or shared lunch, asking educators to bring a food which reflects their cultural heritage. Other suggestions include inviting guest speakers from various cultural groups to a staff meeting, sharing articles for the staff team to read and reflect on, or sharing videos, music and other provocations from cultures represented within the service.