Remembering: Anzac Day in the classroom

  • Published on April 24, 2019

Remembering Anzac Day in the classroom

Tomorrow, 25 April is Anzac Day, a day of national significance and a public holiday in both Australia and New Zealand. The day is the anniversary of the first major military campaign fought by Australian and New Zealand forces in World War I, but now commemorates all who have served in any military campaign or operation since. The acronym stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Ceremonies are held around the country and well-attended by past and present servicemen and women, their families and friends, and the general public.

While most children and teachers in both Australia and New Zealand are still on school holidays, they will undoubtedly discuss, and conduct ceremonies in recognition of ANZAC Day when school returns.

readilearn Interview with Allison Paterson

To assist your discussions, I remind you of Allison Paterson’s wonderful book Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials, about which I interviewed Allison in November last year as part of the Books on Tour promotion.

About the book

The book explains, in a way that is detailed but accessible for a young audience, the origins and significance of both Anzac Day and Remembrance Day. Explanations of the traditions and symbols ensure that children understand why it is important to observe these historical events and why we should never forget those who fought for our country and those who keep us safe today.

Here are some reminders of Allison’s book:

Allison Paterson Australia Remembers

Allison Paterson Australia Remembers

Allison Paterson Australia Remembers

Allison Paterson Australia Remembers

If your school or local library doesn’t already have copies of Australia Remembers: Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and War Memorials, it can be purchased from all good bookstores or direct from Big Sky Publishing where extensive teacher notes are also available.

Family connections

Children in your class may attend Anzac Day ceremonies with family members who served or are still serving. Why not invite the children to share their knowledge or invite their serving family members to discuss, in child-friendly ways, the importance of their contribution and why it is important to remember the sacrifice of others.

Members of my family served in both World Wars, other conflicts and peacekeeping operations. My father, in his later years, wrote poems and stories about some of his experiences in the Second World War. A section of one of his poems is featured on the Anzac Memorial in the town in which he grew up. Sadly, he did not live to see it recognised in this way.

Ode to the Old Digger by R.J. Irwin

Anzac biscuits

Anzac biscuits are a popular treat all year round, or were in my family as I was growing up, but especially around Anzac Day. During World War I, soldiers were sent packages of food from families and friends back home. Because it could be some time from when the food was baked until it was received, it had to keep for a long time and also be nutritious. Anzac biscuits filled both these requirements. As a special treat, I share with you my Mum’s Anzac biscuit recipe.

Anzac biscuits Mum's recipe
Anzac biscuits (c) Norah Colvin
Mum’s Anzac Biscuits

1 cup plain flour

I cup rolled oats

I cup coconut

1 cup sugar

110 grams butter

1 tablespoon syrup

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 tablespoons hot water

Pinch of salt

  1. Place the oats, coconut, sugar, flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
  2. Put the syrup, butter and hot water in a saucepan and heat.
  3. When it starts to boil, add the soda and mix it into the dry ingredients. Mix well.
  4. Roll the mixture into small balls or use a spoon.
  5. Cook in a moderate oven (180⁰C) for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Note: The biscuits will be soft when they come out of the oven but will harden and crisp as they cool.

I am both proud of and grateful to my parents and other family members for the contribution they have made towards the freedom that we enjoy in Australia today. I’m sure you and your children have many for whom you feel the same way.

We will not forget.

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    Thank you for the service of your family, Norah. Red poppies flow around the world, at different times. Now I better understand what ANZAC stands for. Thank you for honoring those of your countrymen who served.

    Our servicemen provided us with much for we must be grateful. We should never forget their sacrifice. Many lost their lives, but many others lost much in other ways.

    Your tribute to those who fought for the freedom of that your country enjoys is very thoughtfully presented here, Norah. Thank you for the Anzac Day Post. Did you have the biscuits on the weekend? Xo

    Thank you for your kind words, Christy. My granddaughter and I made two batches of biscuits; one on Easter Sunday in preparation for Anzac Day just four days later, and another batch on Anzac Day. I was very pleased with the response of both my grandchildren to the biscuits. Normally, they are not keen on anything with coconut in it, but they really loved these biscuits. When we made the second batch, GD asked if we could make enough for her to take one each for the children in her class. So of course, we did. She had enough for each child and one for the teacher, as well as a few extras for the family to enjoy. I’m pleased to be able to pass the tradition on.

    I think it’s wonderful that children are being taught about the wars your country has fought for. The poem by your father and the Last Post were both so moving. What a wonderful book to help young readers understand the history. 🙂 <3

    Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Debby. I think it is important children learn about these atrocities so that, hopefully, they will never happen again. So many fears were prevalent when I grew up, but the younger generations no longer seem to have those same fears. I guess that is a good thing.
    I thought it was a wonderful recognition of Dad’s poem for it to be displayed on the war memorial. I’m just sorry he didn’t get to see it.

    The Last Post always gives me chills Norah – it’s so plaintiff. Your father’s poem is so sad and wonderful. ANZAC has a proud sound to it. I could make those cookies I think – thank for the recipe and for this post –

    Thank you for your lovely comment, Susan. I agree with you about The Last Post. Dad’s poem is sad. He always felt that when they came home, they were just expected to get on with it. It took many years for him to talk about his experiences or to join in other activities with Returned Servicemen. The biscuits are delicious. I’ve made two batches now with my grandchildren. They didn’t expect to like them but they do. My granddaughter even asked one to make one each for everyone in her class. I thought that was pretty nice. We made them this morning. 🙂

Please share your thoughts. I love it when you do.

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