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Reconciliation Symposium: Critical reflection translates into action at Y Kinders

May 22, 2024 Early Learning

Jo Hayley, teacher at T L Stone Kindergarten in Maryborough, didn’t stand still on her return from the Reconciliation Symposium in early May.

She has already reached out to local Aboriginal families and invited them to join their Reconciliation Action Plan team and started looking at ways to make the kinder’s Acknowledgement of Country more authentic. In the pipeline are also a fence mural and increased use of the Indigenous Map of Australia throughout the program.

She said, “It was such an amazing experience. For me, there were many takeouts. A key message was that we can be the catalyst to start generational healing as opposed to generational trauma. We also need to accept that sometimes there may be discomfort to get the most out of a situation.”

Jo, one of two Y Kinders’ teachers who participated, was accompanied by our 3 School Readiness Funding Coaches and Amy Claughton from our Sandbox Project.

All are actively involved in the development of our new online professional development platform being created with and for Early Childhood teachers and educators.

Taking part in the Symposium at this point of the Sandbox project was especially important to the team, prompting an evaluation of their approach to embed Indigenous Perspectives in the direction, content and further creation of the platform.

Co-designers of the platform, Gayle Collett and Jo Hayley, also found that the Symposium allowed critical reflection on systems, processes and day-to-day activities at services and across the Y.

“In addition to the input into the Sandbox project, I can see that for our teams there are so many things we can do at service level,” said Gayle Collett. “It’s important to build relationships and connection. Amongst many things that our kinders can do, some may be taking steps to reach out and meet local Elders, or incorporating words and stories from your local Indigenous community.”

Gayle also immediately registered her service, Nangiloc & District Kindergarten in Sunraysia, with the Narragunnawali program, which supports services with practical ways to drive reconciliation in education.

For Amy, Sandbox Project Manager, it was Aunty Denise’s powerful account of her journey as part of the stolen generation that made a lasting impact.

“It was really insightful hearing from Indigenous people about their experiences and also their perspectives on our shared journey towards Reconciliation. The advice they had to offer about steps to take to build healing relationships was invaluable.”

Held in Canberra and in the first week of May, the 2 day Symposium is highly interactive and brings the matter of reconciliation in early childhood into the spotlight.

Karen Chugg, School Readiness Funding Coach, summed up the team’s experience, “It was a wonderful opportunity to listen and learn from First Nations people, to gain insights into practical ideas for advancing Reconciliation that we can bring back and share with our services. And it was also fantastic to network with leaders in the Early Childhood Profession and with other colleagues from around Australia.”

The Y acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We pay our respects to them and their cultures; and to Elders past, present and future.

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