& Events


Gorton House and its jars of colours

- February 4, 2013

What does it mean to be Australian today? The children of Gorton House decided to find out for themselves…

The Gorton House children prepare for another group story time.

When the Director of Gorton House, Vin Christanto, sent this letter to parents just before Australia Day, she and her team were not prepared for the response.

The idea was to start a project for the children to help them explore their identity by filling up a “jar of colours” – small trinkets and tokens from home that represented themselves, their families, or their backgrounds.

Make that JARS of colours. As the Gorton children started to bring colourful things from home, one jar soon became many.

Leyna (centre) reaches into one of the jars of colours to tell her story.

Throughout the week, the Gorton House children would sit down during group time, and each child would take a turn to tell the story behind the token they had brought.

Layla brought a postcard her grandmother had sent from Ireland. She proudly showed it to all her friends, telling them a little about her grandmother, and a little about Ireland.

Sara brought in a sparkly silver ornament from last Christmas. And the story behind the ornament.

Millie brought in pink and yellow cupcake wrappers. She soon told her friends the wrappers were a reminder of some fun time baking with her mum.

And Leyna brought in her favourite piglet figurine. That story must remain within the walls of Gorton House.


(L) Jimmy ponders what to say about his shell and (R) Emerald wonders which jar to choose from.

There were many, many more remembrances – and stories.

"I think it’s great to see children learn to appreciate their cultural roots, while also developing a sense of belonging and pride about being Australian," says Vin.

"This has become an exciting routine in our room, and a great way to scaffold children’s language development as they use their words to tell their story."

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