Early Childhood Services Urged To Make Children Aware Of Indigenous Cultures

By February 12, 2019

Educators are being urged to attend professional development courses on incorporating Indigenous perspectives and consult local elders and organisations.

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) says services are passing up a golden opportunity to foster respect for Indigenous people from an early age.

Community Child Care Association executive director Julie Price exclaims "We hear lots of times that educators are concerned that they are going to do the wrong thing, they do not want to be tokenistic, and they do not want to offend anyone.So sometimes that completely stops services from doing anything."

To promote access and inclusion within the service and assist educators to develop their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal Australia the following strategies may help:

  • Attend relevant training
  • Meet and talk with Aboriginal people outside of the service
  • Consult with local Lands Council, Aboriginal cultural centres etc.
  • Access resources from organisations such as Indigenous Professional Support Unit (IPSU), the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) etc.
  • Gain an Aboriginal perspective of different matters by reading widely outside of mainstream media.
  • Watch Indigenous television programs such as National Indigenous Television Network (NITV).
  • Listen to Indigenous radio programs.
  • Learn about your local community's Indigenous history and heritage.

It's recommended to create a whole service plan for inclusion that involves all educators and families, including:

  • Acknowledge Of Country at all meetings and important events, including meetings with children.
  • For events with significant meaning, consult with local Elders groups or land councils about a Welcome to Country.
  • Create a calendar of indigenous events that can be celebrated at the service. Add local events that are happening within the
  • Indigenous community to the parent and staff notice board.
  • Invite indigenous performers and artists into the service and hold workshops for children and families.
  • Network with the local Aboriginal community and partner with them on a specific project.
  • Invite Elders from your local community to take part in celebrations and significant events.
  • Name an area in your service in a local language, Consult with local Aboriginal Lands Council in regards to protocol and use of language in your local community.
  • Set up a "sister service" in country or remote areas. Stay in contact through the internet or exchange postcards or mail.
  • Plant a tree in your service to acknowledge a significant date on the Indigenous calendar.
  • Play traditional Indigenous games.
  • Ensure your service has a range of Indigenous resources - maps, flags, music, puzzles, books, dolls, videos, posters etc.

As educators, we play an important role in helping children to create a positive perspective, understanding and appreciation for Australia Aboriginal and Torres Stit Islander history, culture and lives.

References:
Phillippa Carisbrooke, "Calls For Childcare Centres To Make Kids More Aware Of Indigenous Cultures", SBS News, 10 February 2019
Including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures In Your Service, Aussie Childcare Network, 5 July 2016