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Deadly Week of Celebration at Goodstart for National Reconciliation Week

Goodstarters across the country embraced Now More than Ever in their centres and teams in many different ways.

Goodstart stories

Article by Emily Boland

Caption: Centres and teams from across the country decorated and sent in leaves to form part of our Reconciliation Tree forming a visual commitment to reconciliation. 

At Goodstart, reconciliation is woven through all that we do, it is embraced by each of our centres and centre support offices with a shared commitment of creating culturally safe environments for First Nations children, families and staff.

The annual celebration of National Reconciliation Week (NRW), marked from 27 May to 3 June, is an important way for all Goodstarters to stop and reflect about our important role in Australia’s reconciliation journey, and the impact Goodstarters have in shaping the next generation of Australians.

Throughout the week, Goodstarters took the opportunity to embrace reconciliation to keep learning, and to celebrate alongside children, families and our communities, our rich and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture. Check out just a snapshot of our celebrations below.

National Reconciliation Week Opening Morning Tea 

National Reconciliation Week was opened in our Meanjin (Brisbane) Office with a morning tea and speech from our National Cultural Liaison Melody Ingra about the importance of reconciliation and this Year’s theme Now More than Ever. Goodstarters were reminded of the importance of being reconciliation allies and reflect on their personal and professional commitment to reconciliation.

Pan Damper Kaikai Experience 

Torres Strait Islander Cultural Liaison Peter Pilot-Wakaisu and Sissy Mattie lead a group of Goodstarters at our Meanjin Office in a Pan Damper Kaikai experience.

Sissy Mattie shared her knowledge and skills with Goodstarters making some delicious Pan Damper. Pan Damper is a staple in Torres Strait Islander cooking and is made combining self-raising flour, powder milk and water and then cooked in a pan over low heat.

Sissy Mattie is from the island of Mabuiag which is located in the inner western cluster of Islands in the Torres Strait.  Mattie is a member of the Torres Strait Islander community within Brisbane and proudly shares Torres Strait cultural perspectives through art, cooking and also traditional dancing and singing in her language dialect Kala Lagaw Ya.

National Reconciliation Week Webinar 

On Wednesday, hundreds of Goodstarters joined across the country for our online National Reconciliation Week Webinar. Hosted by National Cultural Liaison Melody Ingra and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Liaison Peter Pilot-Wakaisu we were joined by guests Aunty Flo Watson, Tessa Keenan (General Manager – Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education) and Zoey-Ann English (Centre Director - Mount Louisa). Throughout the session Goodstarters reflected on our 10-year reconciliation journey, heard about the continued success of Goodstart’s partnership with Ngurupai, and gained practical strategies and advice to support further reconciliation progress and impact across the 654 communities our early learning services are located.

Kapmauri Lunch and Wear it Yellow for Children’s Ground

At our Meanjin office we hosted a Wear it Yellow day in support of the Aboriginal-led organisation Children’s Ground. Children’s Ground – who is seeking to create a different future for the next generation of First Nations children.  Together, our fundraising impact will benefit First Nations children and families with all donations going towards First Nations-led education and wellbeing on Country and in communities. We also enjoyed a delicious Kapmuri lunch (Torres Strait underground cooking method) thanks to Bowie Solutions.

How some of our deadly Goodstart centres celebrated

Goodstart Oakhurst focus on learning environments 

The Team at Goodstart Oakhurst set up a variety of First Nations inspired learning environments for the children to engage in as well as hands-on experiences including weaving and a Sea of Hearts display. They recycled old cardboard boxes to make their Sea of Hearts display, children  decorated their own hearts and discussed what is National Reconciliation Week and what do they know about the First Nations people and culture. Families were also invited to decorate a heart at home to add to the centre’s display.

Goodstart Berowra embraced song and storytelling

The centre celebrated the week with song and storytelling. They created a Stingray mural with all rooms participating in the project. The children also explored languages and symbols and First Nations bushtucker using Lemon Myrtle playdough and mixing in Ochre.

Goodstart Mount Isa

The team at Goodstart Mount Isa celebrated by extending on children's learning around National Reconciliation Week. The team shared Dreamtime stories, songs and movement, art and craft and had a focus on teaching about the history of our nation.

Goodstart Norfolk Village brought passion for culture to their lessons this week 

Each room at Goodstart Norfolk Village did something different to celebrate, and when it came to our youngest learners in Nursery, one of the educators shared her own passion and knowledge about our rich First Nations history and culture with the infants and toddlers – demonstrating it is never too early to start sharing and educating our young children.

Goodstart Semaphore Park published their first Reconciliation Action Plan

Reconciliation Week 2024 was very special to the team at Goodstart Semaphore Park who celebrated their first RAP, and much more. The team set up a special gathering place atrium – front and centre for children and families of the centre – with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags, authentic Aboriginal art appreciation and Aboriginal symbol recognition. The team leveraged the special week to celebrate their very first RAP publication through the Narragunnawali platform. The team celebrated with their community partner Bower Cottages Community Centre. The community coordinator and community members supported the children to display the Aboriginal Flag and the Torres Strait Islander Flag at the front of the centre. Now more than ever, the centre team and children are committed to putting reconciliation as a part of their purpose at Semaphore Park.

Sea of Hearts at Goodstart Logan Village

This year Goodstart Logan Village took their reconciliation journey to the community and began inviting everyone to participate in their Sea of Hearts display. They had local members, school children, families and educators participate in the display. The team have been standing out the front of the centre and sharing messages of reconciliation and discussing with the community what reconciliation means and how they can work towards reconciliation.

Wearing it Yellow at Goodstart Kenmore Princeton

This week the children at Goodstart Kenmore Princeton engaged with different activities including yarning circles, singing ‘Taba Naba’, First Nations Storytime and arts and crafts. The team also dug deep for First Nations charity, Children’s Ground, hosting a Wear It Yellow Day.

Key highlights from our 12-month reconciliation journey 

  • 100% of all Goodstart centres are on their reconciliation journey with Narragunnawali with a draft of published RAP  
  • 41% of centres have published their centre-based RAP  
  • New Stretch RAP underway after the completion of the 2021-2023 RAP 
  • 9% First Nations trainees 
  • 7.1% of children attending Goodstart centres identify as First Nations children (6,700) 
  • 367+ up 13% from 2022 First Nations educators, teachers and early learning professionals 

Learn more about Reconciliation at Goodstart here

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