This ANZAC day is unusual because it marks the first time we cannot gather together to commemorate due to a nationwide lockdown. Anzac Day is observed on 25th April. It commemorates New Zealanders (and Australians) killed in war and honours returned and serving servicemen and women. The date marks the anniversary of the landing of New Zealand (and Australian) soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. The aim was to capture the Dardanelles and open a sea route to the Bosphorus and the Black Sea. At the end of the campaign, Gallipoli was still held by its Ottoman Turkish defenders. Thousands lost their lives during the Gallipoli campaign including 87,000 Ottoman Turks, 44,000 men from France and the British Empire, 8500 Australians and 2779 New Zealanders, about one in six of those who served on Gallipoli.
ANZAC day is a time to share the past with our children. By building understanding around the traditions, facts and folklore of ANZAC Day, the many real-life stories of sacrifices and heroism of everyday New Zealanders will not be lost, but be handed down to future generations. Children, with their astute awareness of the world around them, will recognise that Anzac Day is significant, but how do we appropriately explain the importance behind it? Here are some strategies you can use to make it easier to teach your child about ANZAC Day. The key is to keep it simple:
Talk about the freedom we have to feel safe because of their sacrifice. You might have a family member who has service and you might like to tell their story.
Talk about caring for each other and the world as a whole.
Bake some ANZAC treats.
Let your child ask the questions, be open to their ideas.
Do some Anzac craft - painting (or making) poppies is a lovely way to extend learning. Many families shared their creations on their fences and gates this year.
Read some Anzac Books - there is a great range of illustrated children's books that cover this subject.
Hold your own commemoration, including a minute’s silence.
However you choose to acknowledge ANZAC day, we can be thankful for the freedoms and rights our men and women fought for, so we can leave in peace today.