We will come and visit your classroom with an amazing variety of museum-quality Performance Masks aged between 50 and 300 years old, from countries in the Asia-Pacific region.  Using the construction material, design and expressions on these masks, our facilitators engage children on a journey of expression through different cultures.
Our facilitator provides the class with a beach-ball sized inflatable globe of the world, and as each mask is discussed, indicates on the globe where the mask is from in relation to their classroom location within Australia (e.g. Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne etc.).  Children even get to touch and handle some of the more robust masks! Children who were born or who have a parent from a country other than Australia get to come up and show the class where on the planet they (or their parents) are from.  This activity provides children a context for where they live in the world, in relation to where the masks were created and where some of their friends at the Child Care Centre are from.  The concept of distance and broad geographical areas obvious on the globe, gives children of early childhood age some reasoning for why people from different parts of the world look slightly different.
Children then learn about the concept of expression, and how people from all backgrounds, regardless of culture, race or religion, share the common language of expression.  This is highlighted through the created expressions on each of the masks.  Different masks express emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, anger.  Others portray animal and ancestor spirits; however all of them provide children with a unique opportunity to understand differences, and more importantly, appreciate similarities between all people.
Your children then move into small groups of ~6-8 for a mask-making activity!  As part of the program, we provide all the papier-mâché masks and mask-decorating equipment (decorations – feathers, sparkles, tinsel, coloured texta’s, sequins, cotton wool, stickers, glue etc.).  Children decide individually on what expression they are going to give their mask, and how they are going to decorate it, based on the performance masks displayed and examples of what other children have created previously.  The most creative mask-maker gets a special prize!  The masks are then laid out to dry and are given to each child to take home.
With a few minutes left at the end of the program, the facilitator provides the class with a summary of the program, highlighting the importance and acceptance of people from the great diversity of different cultures within Australia.
Set up time: 15 minutes
Program duration: Presentation (Approx. 30 Minutes)

Mask making activity (Approx. 30 Minutes)
Pack up time: 15 minutes