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Goodstart strengthens reconciliation vision for the future

Throughout 2023 Goodstart continued to make strong progress on reconciliation goals and set new targets for 2024.

Goodstart stories

Article by Emily Boland

At Goodstart we recognise that reconciliation is more than a word and it's our organisation responsibility to take actionThroughout the past year Goodstart took part in many cultural learning experiences, events and celebrations in support of First Nations people.

Underpinning our organisation’s reconciliation progress in 2023, has been amplifying our First Nations Voices, increased cultural knowledge and understanding among Goodstarters, deeper critical reflection, and drawing on Elders and other knowledge holders, who continue to help positively shape our journey.  

As an organisation, Goodstart’s Stretch RAP (2021-2023) has come to an end, but our reconciliation journey continues and remains strong, and even more ambitious than before. Working groups have been established to steer our future RAP for 2024 and beyond. 

Here are just some of the ways Goodstart worked towards our reconciliation goals over the last year:  

Local reconciliation action plans 

From YidinjiGooreng GoorengYuggera, Gadigal to Wurundjeri and Palawa Country on the east coast of Australia, across to Kaurna Country and Wadjuk Noongar in the west, up to Larrakia in the Northern Territory and across all nations of Australia, our centres have committed to reconciliation.  

All Goodstart centres are now on their own Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) journey with Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education platform. Our commitment to reconciliation is visible across more than 654 communities, while 41 percent of centres have published their RAP commitments. Goodstart Shailer Park is one of these centres, after starting their journey more than seven years ago. They were one of six education facilities nationwide that received a judging commendation as part of the 2023 Narragunnawali Reconciliation in Education Awards. 

Learn more about Narragunnawali here. 

National Reconciliation Week  

Goodstart and its 16,000 early learning educators, teachers and other professionals including cooks, proudly celebrated National Reconciliation Week (NRW) 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.  

Goodstart celebrated across our 654 centres in many ways including a special live stream in which hundreds of Goodstarters and children across the nation joined our CEO Ros Baxter reading the book, ‘Finding our Heart’ by Thomas Mayo to a lucky group of kindergarten children at Goodstart Murarrie, Brisbane.  

Learn more about our NRW 2023 celebrations here 


NAIDOC Week was marked in many different ways across the Goodstart network with celebrations and cultural experiences both in centre and at our Centre Support Offices 

In celebration of last year’s theme ‘For Our Elders’ Goodstart paid our respects to two Elders in particular who have been instrumental to Goodstart’s reconciliation journey – Aunty Flo and Aunty Ama Rose. These inspiring, trailblazing women have been a source of inspiration not only in their local communities, but for anyone who is lucky enough to experience their guidance.  

You can learn more about their stories here. 

Coming of the Light  

Just before NAIDOC week begins Torres Strait Islander people celebrate the Coming of the Light (1 July). Coming of the Light (1 July) is a day of celebration that brings together Torres Strait Islanders across Australia in remembrance of the arrival of the London Missionary Society and adoption of Christianity throughout the Torres Strait Islands. Last year marked 152 years since this historical event occurred. 

We had the special privilege of being joined by incredible Torres Strait Islander Elders - Ama Rose, Uncle Rupert who were a part of a panel discussion with Goodstart Cultural Liaison Peter Pilot-Wakaisu and Sylvia Nakachi (Torres Strait Cultural Practitioner). We were also joined by Aunty Edna who led a cultural weaving experience for Goodstarters in at our main Centre Support Office in Brisbane. 

Learn more here 


Over the 12-week summer university break, Goodstart were proud to support seven interns from thCareerTrackers ProgramCareerTrackers is a national not-for-profit organisation with the goal of creating pathways for First Nations university students to gain industry experience through paid internship opportunities. 

Goodstart has been a proud partner of CareerTrackers since 2016 helping more than 30 students on their professional learning journey. 

Learn more about CareerTrackers here. 

Yes Campaign  

Goodstart was proud to have joined 70 other RAP partner organisations, in responding to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and actively showing our support for First Nations recognition in the Constitution and a Voice to Parliament.

Kaurareg Aboriginal and KalkalgalErubamle Torres Strait Islander man, author and Yes23 spokesperson, Thomas Mayo visited a lucky group of Kindergarten children at Goodstart Gladstone - Toolooa Street and Goodstart Bundaberg - Takalvan Street to do a reading of his book, Finding Our Heart. 

Now more than ever we recognise the importance of keeping reconciliation as top priority and will continue to support and advocate for Australia’s First Nations people.  

Key highlights 

  • 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 

  • 85% of Goodstarters have completed the Arrilla Cultural competency training 

  • 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 

  • 40 State Based Yarning circles meeting regularly 

  • 1 of 70 RAP partners in Australia who have visibly demonstrated their support for the Yes campaign 

  • 10 First Nations Goodstarters and non-Indigenous Goodstarters attended the ECA Reconciliation Symposium 

  • 10 educator secondments in our cultural immersion program 

  • 97 centres participated in our Community of Practice to support practice sharing, collaboration and reconciliation progress and impact 

Learn more about reconciliation at Goodstart here 

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