8 ways of learning since the Reconciliation Symposium

Incorporating culture into the curriculum

In May, a group of us from Queen Elizabeth Childcare Centre attended the ECA Reconciliation Symposium held in Adelaide. Wanting more insight and knowledge surrounding reconciliation and Aboriginal culture we attended with high expectations and enthusiasm and things have certainly snowballed from there. We came back to our service inspired and excited and put plans into action straight away. The two key things we took from the symposium were

  1. teaching through culture rather than about culture
  2. and the need to keep going rather than giving up.

We had a long road ahead of us and after our experience at the Symposium we were all very passionate and enthusiastic about moving forward. Some of the implementations in the beginning were small and what a better place to start. We didn’t want our progress to be tokenistic.  We wanted it to be meaningful for children, families and Educators involved.

What we have done since the Reconciliation Symposium:

A daily Yarning Circle with the Kindergarten group. The children and Educators sit in a circle inside or out on land. They greet each other in Kaurna “Naa Marni” meaning how are you? to a group and “Marni I” meaning I am well. From here we do a Recognition of Kaurna people which the children recite in Kaurna and then have a yarn about why it is important for us to recognise the Kaurna people and culture.

Incorporating the 8 Aboriginal ways of learning
into both our programmes and group observations, we feel that linking this as well as the National quality framework and The Early Years Learning Framework is more inclusive.

Being a member of ARMSU (Aboriginal Resource and Management Support Unit http://www.armsu.org.au/) means we are able to access Cultural resources

We have been incorporating Kaurna language through songs, numbers and colours and Aboriginal language into our daily routines and replacing discussions with yarning.

Visits and picnics – recently the Kindy group have made a connection with Kura Yerlo an Aboriginal children’s centre for visits to each other’s centres for a group play and shared lunch.

instruments guessingThe Music Box – meaningful not tokenistic

Our recent loan resource from ARMSU was a music box. For the first week we didn’t even open the box. The children were asked what they thought was inside and some of the ideas were very creative. For the week the children would approach the box and suggest another idea, some would even place their ear next to the box to see if they could hear anything. This made the children very intrigued to what was inside and more excited for the following weeks. Over the next couple of weeks we would slowly retrieve one item from the box and have the children explore the items and have a discussion about what they item was, what it was used for and how it was made. This process gave the children more meaning, knowledge and more excitement surrounding indigenous culture. We continue to loan resources from ARMSU which the children are always so excited about.

We have started small and are going to move forward with our work surrounding cultural awareness, and as we learnt from the symposium “from little things, big things grow”.

The 2018 ECA Reconciliation Symposium will be held at the Esplanade Hotel Fremantle, Western Australia from 11–12 May 2018 with a highly interactive format. Registration is now open, click here for more information.

Kimberley Russell

Kimberley Russell is the Teacher at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Community Child Care Centre in Adelaide. She has worked at the Centre for the past 2 and a half years since completing her Bachelor of Early Childhood Education at the University of South Australia.

2 thoughts on “8 ways of learning since the Reconciliation Symposium”

    Natalie says:

    What an awesome innovation, and great to see little people being so actively involved in understanding Aborginal culture. These children are the future and will be the advocates for retaining and valuing our Aboriginal history in Australia. Great job Kimberley.



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