KIDS TOGETHER NOW

An Anti-Racism App For Primary School Children

Inspired by the impact of the Everyday Racism mobile app to encourage positive behavioural change among adults, we’ve embarked upon the challenging task of reducing the incidences of racism among children.Kids Together Now is an app that aims to promote positive peer relationships among students, which enhances their academic outcomes and improves physical and mental health outcomes.

It also provides primary school teachers with a stronger understanding of racism and other forms of exclusion from a child’s perspective, which helps teachers to more confidently identify and address racism in the classroom.

How The App Works

The app is designed as a one-term classroom tool to teach students aged 8 to 10 years old how to identify and challenge non race-based and race-based exclusion.

Students will play through one storyline each week in class over a period of 8 weeks. Each storyline provides a hypothetical situation where social exclusion may occur, such as in the playground, at the beach, or during sporting activities. By providing a framework of scenarios for students to work through, the app acts as an intervention to address prejudice and stereotypes during a critical period for children’s personal development.

An important part of the effectiveness for the app to serve as a means to reduce prejudice is the in-class conversation and dialogue that immediately follows the playing of the app. We have created a series of Lesson Plans in PDF format, to help teachers facilitate meaningful discussions in the classroom. Together, the app and Lesson Plans will assist teachers in meeting the Intercultural Understanding capabilities within the Australian Curriculum.

The Kids Together Now app is available for use on any device with a browser and internet connection, including iPads and desktop computers.

Use the app

For Teachers For Parents
Teachers can access the Lesson Plans and app using these links:

  1. Download the Lesson Plan booklet (PDF), which includes weekly discussion points and activities that coincide with each chapter in the app.
  2. Use the app in your classroom. You do not need to download anything, this link takes you straight to the app. Teachers can provide this URL to each student in their class: kidstogethernow.org.au. Please ask students to remember which email address they use when logging in for the first time, as they will be required to use the same email address each time they use the app.
  3. Please fill in the teacher survey after each lesson to help us understand whether or not the program was helpful. Your feedback will inform any improvements we make to the program.

Thanks to our funders, the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, BMW Group and the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, All Together Now has been able to produce this app so that it can be made freely available for Australian teachers.

However, the Kids Together Now project has ongoing technical costs.

Please make a donation to help us keep this app running. We suggest a minimum donation of $50 per class, however you are free to choose your donation amount. Donations over $2 are tax-deductible. Please make a donation using your credit card or PayPal account.

Parents can guide their child/ren through the app for school assignments, or general learning about racism.

  1. You do not need to download anything, this link takes you straight to the app: kidstogethernow.org.au. Please ask your child to remember which email address they use when logging in for the first time, as they will be required to use the same email address each time they use the app. This is because each story in the app builds on what the student learned in the previous story, so the stories can only be played sequentially. By using the same email address to log in each time, your child will not have to start the series all over again each time! Please note that inputting their email DOES NOT sign their school up to use the app.
  2. If the app is useful for your child, please consider speaking to your school and asking them to use the app in the classroom.

The science behind this project

School is the predominant location for racism to occur among children, with the majority of perpetrators being other students[i]. 67% of secondary students surveyed in Victoria who had experienced racism had that experience at school[ii].

In Australia, callers’ response data from the national Kids Helpline reveals that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students from language backgrounds other than English were much more likely to experience bullying at school than other students.

Social science and public health research has linked racism to various morbidities, especially relating to mental health[iii].

The app’s focus is on children aged 8-10 years old, because:

  1. by the age of 8, children develop reconciliation skills as well as become capable of understanding peer group dynamics; thus anti-bias education is beneficial for children from this age onwards; [iv][v]
  2. by the age of 9, children recognise social comparison information, and become aware of differences based on race and ethnicity; [vi]
  3. by the age of 10, children recognise both overt and covert racism as well as social inequalities [vii][viii] and anti-racism interventions around age 9-10 seem to be particularly important due to the permeability of prejudice development at this age [ix]; and
  4. it is necessary to create developmentally appropriate intervention strategies in childhood to address prejudice and racism before stereotypes are deeply entrenched by adulthood. [x]

Professor Melanie Killen [xi] also points to the necessity of a multi-method approach for intervention to reduce prejudice in the childhood years, which necessarily relies on innovative techniques reflecting social media used by children today.

With regards to teachers, a recent NSW study found that only half of classroom teachers had undertaken professional learning around incorporating anti-racism strategies into lessons, with 20% not having taken any professional learning in the area of multiculturalism. 60% of teachers agreed that implementing anti-racism strategies are effective for fostering cultural inclusiveness in school. Of all the teachers surveyed, over 50% agreed that racism is a problem in schools [xii].

Kids Together Now has been produced with academic rigour, with the lead academic team comprising Professor Melanie Killen, University of Maryland (USA)Professor Fiona White, The University of Sydney (Australia), and Dr Naomi Priest, Australian National University (Australia).

Social Impact

The multi-disciplinary team behind Kids Together Now will be evaluating the social impact of the app and teacher Lesson Plans.

We expect to achieve the following primary outcomes during the course of this project:

  1. Promoting positive peer relationships among students, which leads to better academic outcomes.
  2. Improved physical and mental health outcomes among students – for both victims and perpetrators.
  3. Stronger social skills and conflict resolution skills among students, who are better able to identify and challenge incidences of racism.
  4. Teachers will have a better understanding of what racism looks like in a child’s world, and therefore have a better understanding of what to look out for and greater confidence and vocabulary to address racism in the classroom.
  5. Teachers will have a classroom with fewer racial problems, allowing them to focus more on the curriculum.

As the social impacts of this project become apparent through various data collection methods and academic analysis, the results will be posted on this web page.

Not in Australia?

Teachers from all over the world are welcome to use this resource, however some scenes may not be culturally appropriate for students in your country, or you may wish to have a version of the app in a language other than English.

If you would like to work with All Together Now to produce a version of this app for students in your country, please contact us.

References For Further Information

[i] Centre for Multicultural Youth, 2014, “Everyday Reality: Racism and Young People”.

[ii] Mansouri, F. & Jenkins, L., 2010, “Schools as sites of race relations and intercultural tension”, Australian Journal of Teacher Education, 35:7, pp 93-108.

[iii] Priest, N. et al., 2014, “Experiences of Racism, Racial/Ethnic Attitudes, Motivated Fairness and Mental Health Outcomes Among Primary and Secondary School Students”, Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

[iv] Johnson, P. J. & Aboud, F. E., 2013, “Modifying ethnic attitudes in young children: the impact of communicator race and message strength”, International Journal of Behavioural Development, 37:182.

[v] Killen, M., Mulvey, K.L., & Hitti, A. (2013). Social exclusion: A developmental

intergroup perspective. Child Development, 84, 772-790.

[vi] Rutland, A., & Killen, M. (2015). A developmental science approach to reducing prejudice and social exclusion: Intergroup processes, social-cognitive development, and moral reasoning. Social Issues and Policy Review, 9, 121-154.

[vii] Brown, C. S. & Bigler, R. S., 2005, “Children’s Perceptions of Discrimination: A Developmental Model”, Child Development, 76:3, pp 533-553.

[viii] Killen, M., Mulvey, K.L., & Hitti, A. (2013). Social exclusion: A developmental

intergroup perspective. Child Development, 84, 772-790.

[ix] Raabe, T. & Beelman, A., 2007, “Development of ethnic, racial, and national prejudice in childhood and adolescence. A multinational meta-analysis of age differences”, Child Development, 82:6, pp 1715-1737.

[x] Rutland, A., & Killen, M. (2015). A developmental science approach to reducing prejudice and social exclusion: Intergroup processes, social-cognitive development, and moral reasoning. Social Issues and Policy Review, 9, 121-154.

[xi] Rutland, A., & Killen, M. (2015). A developmental science approach to reducing prejudice and social exclusion: Intergroup processes, social-cognitive development, and moral reasoning. Social Issues and Policy Review, 9, 121-154.

[xii] Watkins, M., Lean, G., Noble, G., Dunn, K. (2013), “Rethinking Multiculturalism, Reassessing Multicultural Education”, Project Report Number 1, University of Western Sydney, NSW Department of Education and Communities and NSW Institute of Teachers.