The new ‘Hide & Seek’ – Stories of Survival, Middle Years pilot program developed by the Jewish Holocaust Centre in Melbourne is not only unique and engaging, it is also captivating the younger audiences.
The impetus for this program came from the overwhelming success of the Anne Frank Exhibition which was developed for students aged 10 years (Years 4 and 5) and older. The Jewish Holocaust Centre staff observed how engaged these Middle School students were with the story of Anne Frank and her family, and its place in the context of Holocaust.
Further evidence of the need for a similar program for the younger age group came from the feedback received from the younger students who occasionally visited the Centre and undertook a tailored education program. By studying the Holocaust, these younger students have the opportunity to explore basic moral, ethical and human rights issues that underpin a multicultural, tolerant and democratic society, all delivered at a level of complexity suitable for the students’ developmental stage.
‘Hide and Seek’ starts off with an introduction by one of the Educators at the Jewish Holocaust Centre. Students are then divided into three groups to “uncover and discover”. They have the opportunity to explore the Holocaust Museum with a trained guide; role-play what it is like to have – and live with – a false identity; ‘hide’ in Anne Frank’s re-constructed bedroom, and live in silence.
The program also involves the Centre’s greatest asset, its Survivors, whom the students get to hear from, interact with and meet, a first for many of these children.
The ’Hide & Seek’ pilot program has been developed thanks to a Major Grant from Gandel Foundation, and has been running for almost a year. To date, 700 students have had the opportunity to participate in this exceptional program and it is hoped it will continue to engage with many more students in the years to come.
In December 2015 ‘Hide & Seek’ won the “Education and Early Childhood Award” in Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence, in recognition of its contribution to promoting the cultural diversity of Victoria’s community.