Goodstart Richlands reconciliation journey
Putting time and effort into developing rich relationships with the local Indigenous elders has proven invaluable for Goodstart Richlands
’ children and educators.
When embarking on a journey to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), centre director Shannon Kaye said her first step was to get to know the local Indigenous community.
“At the beginning of our RAP process I wanted to focus on making it meaningful. Something that brings people together and focusses on our place within the local community,” she said.
“To do this, we had to build strong connections first. So before we asked for input from our Indigenous elders we really focussed on giving back to the Indigenous community.”
By earning trust and creating a reciprocal partnership, Shannon and her educators have been able to incorporate the invaluable knowledge and suggestions of the community’s Indigenous elders into their day-to-day practice, to the benefit of all the children within the centre.
“Fifty per cent of our children have a non-English speaking cultural background and Indigenous culture is the lowest represented culture in our centre,” she said.
“Through our RAP and relationships with the local Indigenous community, we have been able to start helping our children gain an understanding of Indigenous culture and more about Australia’s history.”
Children and educators now have daily conversations and lessons geared around Indigenous history and a daily acknowledgement of country.
Local elders and members of the Indigenous community regularly attend centre events, and the centre children are often invited to attend, sing or perform at local Indigenous events.
The centre is also now home to an Indigenous art mural, painted by students from Glenala State High School - an initiative that was sparked thanks to a suggestion from Indigenous elders.
“We truly value and treasure the relationship we have with our Elders and look forward to this relationship growing more and more each day,” Shannon said.
“Our journey is well underway and we are so thankful to have been given these opportunities to grow our connection with our Indigenous community.”
Another facet of the centre’s RAP is the establishment of a community group that includes members of local long day care centres, schools, community groups and Indigenous groups.
The group purpose is to build relationships and links within the community and address barriers and challenges, while also looking at opportunities to partner on local events and initiatives.