Goodstart and its 16,000 early learning educators, teachers and other professionals including cooks, proudly celebrated National Reconciliation Week (NRW) this year rallying behind the 2023 theme of ‘Be A Voice for Generations’.
NRW, which runs from 27 May to 3 June each year, is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.
To bring to life the theme, ahead of NRW, all Goodstarters were urged to raise their voice for reconciliation. Goodstarters were encouraged to engage in cultural awareness activities, to becoming more informed about this year’s referendum and reading the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Goodstart Cultural Liaison Melody Ingra said NRW represents such a great opportunity every year for centres to reflect on their reconciliation progress and take the time to deeply listen and unlearn and relearn from First Nations people.
“As early learning educators, teachers, and professionals, Goodstart recognises we are in a unique position to influence and effect change in the lives of the next generation,” Melody said.
“NRW has been a deadly week of incredible events and rich learning experiences for children – involving our centre communities from knowledge holders, Elders, children and families."
“Goodstart centres had range of great celebrations planned from Welcome to Country with local Elders, smoking ceremonies, learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, supporting Children’s Ground for ‘Wear It Yellow Day’, to cultural experiences including learning about bush tukka.”
Take a look at how Goodstart centres and centre support teams embraced NRW and this year’s theme:
Live national book reading of Finding Our Heart by Thomas Mayor
On Wednesday 31 May, hundreds of Goodstarters and children across the nation joined a live stream of our CEO Ros Baxter reading the book, ‘Finding our Heart’ by Thomas Mayor to a lucky group of kindergarten children at Goodstart Murarrie, Brisbane.
‘Finding our Heart’ is a touching children’s story about the Uluru Statement from the Heart - written by Thomas Mayor a Kaurareg Aboriginal and Kalkalgal, Erubamle Torres Strait Islander man and a leading advocate in the campaign for a constitutionally enshrined Voice.
Learning about Goodstart’s book reading, author Thomas Mayor thanked Ros and Goodstarters.
“I want to thank Ros, and the Goodstart team, for sharing my book with you this National Reconciliation Week,” Thomas said.
“The book is about the Uluru Statement from the Heart, it’s about listening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and accepting our voice as a gift, and this referendum is that moment in time when we get to act on what the book and the Uluru Statement ultimately calls for. Fairness of Indigenous people being listened to.”
You can watch a recording of the reading here.
Raising our voices for reconciliation
Another initiative we rallied behind was answering Reconciliation Australia’s call for singers across the country to come together in song for National Reconciliation Week 2023 to perform From Little Things Big Things Grow by Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody. At our main office in Meanjin, Brisbane, we had people across a number of teams take part, check out our video here. Goodstart centres also got around this initiative, including children of Goodstart Ringwood.
Bush tukka experience with centre cooks
Local cooks in Brisbane were treated to an unique bush tukka learning experience run by Jacob Davidson, of FigJam & Co a 100% Indigenous owned and operated and Supply Nation certified catering business. Our cooks gained new information and inspiration about how to incorporate bush foods into centre menus, and to support enriching learning experiences.
Sorry Day at Kalinga Park with Goodstart Clayfield team
The team at Goodstart Clayfied joined in the community annual National Sorry Day ceremony held at the Stolen Generations’ Memorial site in Kalinga Park, Wooloowin.
Goodstart Atwell attends reconciliation breakfast
As part of the NRW celebrations a couple of team members at Goodstart Atwell attended the City of Cockburn’s reconciliation breakfast and flag raising.
Goodstart Stratton’s reconciliation journey showcased at Reconciliation WA’s annual Reconciliation breakfast
The centre shared their journey with reconciliation led by centre Director Corrine Ferraro. You can watch their segment in the recording from 1:14:40 here.
Sea of Hearts at Goodstart Red Hill
This week the team at Goodstart Red Hill planted their Sea of Hearts. The hearts (more than 200) have been collated over the past three years from past and current children’s families and staff, as well as the members of the Red Hill community – including a visit from Brisbane Broncos player Ezra Mam. The Sea of Hearts is a visible call to all community, to read, to reflect, and contribute their own thinking and approach to reconciliation.
Wear it Yellow Day at Goodstart Virginia
The children and team at Goodstart Virginia rallied around Wear it Yellow Day to raise vital funds to support Children’s Ground a First Nations not-for-profit organisation dedicated to First Nations led education. The team surpassed their $500 goal with the help of their wider community. You can learn more about Children’s Ground here.
Learning about symbols at Goodstart Hampton Park – Coral Drive
The team at Goodstart Hampton park engaged in a week of enriching learning about the meaning of symbols as well as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.
Creating engaging environments at Jindi Kindergarten and Extended Care
The team at Goodstart Jindi created interactive learning experiences for the children by making an engaging space for reconciliation.
Connecting with community at Goodstart Queens Park
Goodstart Queens Park organised a cultural workshop where the local community was invited including Elder Sylvia and her daughter Kaya. Sylvia and Kaya performed a Welcome to Country and read a book about Australian animals and sang songs in Noongar language and shared history and culture.
Reconciliation is a year-round priority at Goodstart, and over the past year, Goodstart has celebrated a number of reconciliation milestones including all 661 of our centres being on a Reconciliation Action Plan journey with Narragunnawali. You can read more about our achievements here. To learn more about Goodstart’s reconciliation journey, download a copy of our Stretch RAP here.
As early learning educators, teachers, and professionals, Goodstart recognises we are in a unique position to influence and effect change in the lives of the next generation.
Visit Reconciliation Australia’s website to learn more about National Reconciliation Week and this year’s theme Be a Voice for Generations.