Elizabeth Vale receives RAP commendation
The Goodstart team at the Elizabeth Vale centre has received a commendation for its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) at the 2019 Narragunnawali Awards.
The centre was one of three early learning centres nationally to receive this honour.
Judges, including Reconciliation Australia, shared this feedback to Elizabeth Vale about their reconciliation journey:
“While this early learning service is still in the early stages of its reconciliation journey, the sense of integrity with which this journey has been approached, and the growth and success of the journey within such a short period of time, is to be commended. The service has formed strong community relationships, with a focus on not only providing specific, equitable and culturally responsive opportunities for Aboriginal children and families, but also for providing opportunities for all students to meaningfully connect with local sites, events and community members. It is great to learn of the all-staff commitment to professional learning/cultural competence development, and also great to learn of the emphasis on critical reflection around "next steps" all the while having shown many strong early successes.”
In speaking about relationships as part of their reconciliation journey, centre director Nykita Gibbs said the team set out to make connections with our local Indigenous community.
“On this journey we discovered an Aboriginal health service "Nunkawarrin Yunti" (located in Elizabeth),” Ms Gibbs said.
“There we met some like-minded people who were starting up a group called 'Strong Mums Solid Kids' and through this connection we felt the need to create a safe space for this group of mums to come each week and so...the idea was born.”
The centre created a playgroup specifically for their Indigenous community.
“We have now been running our Nunga playgroup successfully since May 2018,” she said.
“In the beginning we were only offering playgroup each Tuesday during the school terms with about four to six families coming at that stage.
“Now, we are running the playgroup throughout the entire year on a Tuesday morning, every week.
“Playgroup has grown significantly and with the help of Nunk (Nunkawarrin Yunti), we are able to provide a culturally safe space for access visits for families who are separated from their children; some of the families attending are extremely vulnerable."
Ms Gibbs said they knew that this playgroup would be a safe, secure and supportive playgroup with amazing educators focused on building a positive and strong relationship with the families – which has been achieved.
“Families are returning week after week and engaging in wonderful meaningful relationships with their children,” she said.
“We also provide transport to some of our playgroup families and pick them up on our centre bus and drop them home again after playgroup.
“Not only has this playgroup grown but we now have up to 20-30 families attending each week, some of the families have now booked their children into our centre too for early learning and care.”
This week is NAIDOC Week across the country – a week to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
This year’s theme is ‘Voice. Treaty. Unity’. You can learn more about theme here
Across its network of 644 centres, more than 403 Goodstart Early Learning centres are on a RAP journey with Narragunnawali, of which 89 centre RAPs have been published.