Indigenous garden helps children connect with culture
Connecting with their local community is helping the children at Goodstart Early Learning Albany
learn about their surroundings and history.
Centre director Lana Penny, said the centre was committed to building strong links between children, families and communities.
“We are constantly looking at new ways to connect and engage with our local community. By working with other organisations, we are helping children explore what our community has to offer,” Ms Penny said.
During the past 12 months, the centre has focused on building strong and respectful relationships with the Indigenous community, with educators embedding a culturally respectful program.
“As educators, we believe it’s important for children to learn about the diverse world we live in and to build their competence to interact within cultures of our broader society,” she said.
“We’ve established great relationships with the Indigenous in our community and the centre regularly teaches the children about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ culture and history.”
“The learning experiences have helped children develop tolerance, compassion and understanding of Australia’s rich and long history,” she said.
The centre received funds earlier this year from the State Government’s Regional Community Child Care Development Fund which were used to set up an Indigenous garden.
“The children have developed an appreciation of and respect for different cultures since we’ve introduced the Indigenous garden. It’s also helped increase the number of Indigenous children attending our service,” she said.
Other community initiatives in place at the centre include a preschool program to help children transition to school, monthly children's health check’s with a health nurse, and fortnightly excursions from the elderly community care centre. The centre provides a learning workplace for high school and TAFE students who wish to gain experience in the children service’s industry.
Goodstart Albany was recently awarded with an overall ‘Exceeding’ rating for their early learning and care centre under the Australian National Quality Framework (NQF) Assessment process.
In the NQS Assessment and Rating Report issued by Australia’s Children Education and Care Quality Authority, the service offered by Goodstart Albany was noted as striving to “build mutual and respectful relationships with Indigenous communities” and “willingness to collaborate with families and other community organisations to enhance children’s learning and wellbeing.”