Posted on August 23, 2023

Pre-School Children in Sutherland Shire, Sydney Forced to Make ‘Sorry’ Cards About Australia’s Colonisation by Europeans

Ashley Nickel, Daily Mail, August 22, 2023

A class of four-year-old children were forced to make ‘sorry’ cards about the colonisation of Australia by Europeans in what their families have slammed as ‘indoctrination’.

Kim, a grandmother, told 2GB’s Chris O’Keefe her twin grandchildren brought home the ‘sorry’ cards on National Sorry Day, May 26, from their pre-school in the Sutherland Shire in the Sydney’s south.

One card read: ‘Sorry for hurting you. Sorry for hurting your land.’

The other card read: ‘Sorry for hurting the Dharawal people. We will be kind now.’

The cards were written by pre-school teachers and decorated by the kids.

However, the children weren’t taught what the cards meant and were instead encouraged to discuss the history of Sorry Day with their parents.

Kim said both her grandchildren were ‘very upset’ and felt ‘very guilty’.

‘As a grandma, I said, “You’ve done nothing wrong, it’s all in the past, you have nothing to worry about, you’re kind little children”,’ she told O’Keefe on Tuesday.

She said her son and daughter-in-law were ‘not impressed’ by the lesson because it wasn’t an age-appropriate topic for pre-schoolers.

‘It’s something for them [the parents] to talk about, they don’t have to be indoctrinated at pre-school,’ she said.

‘If this is what’s happening at pre-school, I’m worried what will happen next year at kindy.’

National Sorry Day is held every year on May 26 to remember the children who were forcibly taken from their parents under Australia’s assimilation policy, now known as the Stolen Generations.

Kim said while it cannot be disputed that wrongs were committed, parents should have the chance to discuss historical injustice with their kids before it’s taught in classrooms.

‘I’m shocked, it’s certainly not for them [the teachers] to talk about these things,’ she said.

‘I don’t know why we have to make our little children feel guilty for the sins of our fathers.

‘It’s nothing they’ve done wrong.’

How Australia’s colonial history is taught to young children has been hotly debated in recent weeks.

Many parents say they don’t believe young kids should be exposed to the complicated and violent topic until they can properly understand it.

Several worried mums and dads told O’Keefe how the current approach has failed.

‘My children attended a beautiful little preschool, both came home at different times saying they’d learned that “white men came here and took away the Aboriginals’ children”,’ one parent said.

‘They chopped down all the trees and poisoned the waterways and then they asked me, “Are all white men bad?”.’

One Indigenous family said their daughter learnt about the Stolen Generations in Year One, before they’d had the chance to talk with her about it.

‘She had to learn it at a very young age because her great grandfather and grandmother were taken from their families which is a huge horrible concept to teach to her at any point,’ they said.