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Goodstart Thornton's journey of reconciliation

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Over the past few years, Educator and Assistant Director Cindy has been leading the Thornton team through a journey of reconciliation. In 2018 when the community of practice began, Cindy was excited to join Melody Ingra and Simone Miller. From here we began a self-reflection and deep dive into cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and community members.

As the time went on, the centre began to explore ways to respect the culture of our first nations peoples and ways to practice unity. With the introduction of a personalised Acknowledgement of Country the children soon realised their sense of community and the desire to share and have a yarn.

Narragunnawali was a platform unheard of within the centre, let alone used for its valuable resources and guidance. Once the team formed the working group, our reconciliation action plan began its journey with the minimal 14 actions. Over the years the ideas came flooding out and the centre was soon complimented on how ‘safe’ it felt to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander visitors.

Our community connections were building including Aboriginal students from Maitland High School, the connection with Speaking in Colour- a Newcastle based organisation and joining a KU yarnin’ circle. Inspired to continue this connection and support of local businesses we used community grants to engage with local dance groups and artists to spend time with the children as they explore new creative ways of being.

In March 2020, we finally had our first Reconciliation Action Plan published on the Narragunnawali platform and were recognised officially on the website for having a published RAP. This did not stop us and pushed us forward into new actions and deliverables. Cindy was selected as one of three recipients for a scholarship for the Koori Curriculum with the highly trained and regarded, Jessica Staines. This allows Cindy to access some of the most valuable resources and information for Early Childhood educators wishing to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and perspectives and elevate the centre to new exciting levels. Cindy was selected to participate in a live filmed one-on-one mentoring session with Jessica Staines which gave opportunities for us to overcome barriers and gain new knowledge, understanding and guidance.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan has just been sent in for its second publishing as this gets reviewed each year. We were excited to be able to add new actions and deliverables and take on our next part of the journey as we widen and strengthen our community connections. Now that COVID restrictions are easing we are looking forward to excursions to visit local Wonnarua Country, events and celebrations and representing Goodstart Early Learning.


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