What are your favourite bits?
I am rather fond of how "proud" we are to take part in ANZAC Day. *shudder*
I also like the implication that Gallipoli had something to do with "defend"-ing... well anybody really. It's a pretty impressive argument that can conclude that we took part in the invasion of Turkey in order to defend Australia.
I'm also amused that for some reason "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps" was just too hard for these kids. Or something.
But really, how can you go past "a big fight between countries who disagree over some things"? That's.... jaw dropping. In the context of 5-8 year olds, I can see these kids thinking that war is somewhere between a screaming match over who had it first and an all-in brawl with a spot of punching and kicking. Of course, wars do often start out as a screaming match over who had it first, but they aren't discussing the causes.
I realise it's tricky, and I think there is a reasonable argument to ignore ANZAC Day altogether in infants school, but if you're going to go there, you can't do it disingenuously. Surely "a big fight between countries in which lots of people die" would be closer, without getting into particularly nasty detail?
I think I'd be much happier if they just left it alone until at least primary school. This pro-ANZAC Day propaganda campaign in schools is very disturbing. When I went to school, ANZAC Day was presented as a day to mark all that is stupid, awful and pointless about war, with a side helping of the value of friendship, ingenuity and disobeying orders. We were taught that Gallipoli was a monumental management cock up, that ANZAC soldiers were treated by the lofty British as disposable cannon fodder, and that above all, this kind of thing should never be allowed to happen again. We were taught that following stupid orders is not brave and loyal, it's stupid and fatal.
Not that I think what we were taught ticked all the boxes. There was still a glorification of the ANZAC soldiers - the whole "ANZAC soldiers were better/smarter/more effective", which smacks of nationalism, although it probably has a grain of truth. More importantly, we weren't taught the wider implications of the invasion of Turkey nor any of the horrors visited upon the "bad guys" by the "good guys". Nor did anyone ever mention the Armenian genocide that was taking place on the very same day. I notice that in all the "Aussies and Turks are mates now" stuff that goes on in Gallipoli itself, the Armenians don't get a mention either.
I think perhaps it is time for parents and P&Cs to take a long hard look at the materials being given to schools for ANZAC Day, and ask what we want our kids to be taught.
ETA: Credit where it's due - apparently Ben's teacher expressed concern with the use of the word "proud".