Exploring reconciliation and cultural awareness in early childhood

Kings Creek Station, Northern Territory, Australia – Aug 21, 2019: close up of a Australian Aboriginal bush painting art. Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience tour in Australian outback

Employees across Early Childhood Australia (ECA) have been involved in National Reconciliation Week projects connected to ECA’s Reconciliation Action Plan. Our group has developed a survey for early childhood educators to explore attitudes towards reconciliation and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness across the early childhood sector.

‘ECA recognises that connections with place and people are central to the wellbeing of young children and their families, and that building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will bring about a positive change, not only for children but also for whole communities.’—ECA Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), page 10.

Share your reconciliation journey

ECA’s RAP includes a commitment to conduct a survey of the early childhood sector to measure attitudes towards, and knowledge of, reconciliation as well as access to cultural awareness training as there is a lack of information about this.

Our survey aims to explore how individual educators, teachers and service leaders are engaged in reconciliation. Additionally, we are seeking to explore practices that support inclusion and cultural awareness training and most importantly, any barriers that may exist (including attitudes, priority, cost, availability etc.).

‘For ECA, reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community is about a journey of continuous transformation.’ (ECA RAP, page 8). The results of this survey will provide information about this journey of transformation that is occurring in the broad early childhood sector.

Developing the survey

Our survey was designed by the ECA project team in consultation with representatives from prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations; Narragunnawali and SNAICC – National Voice for our Children as well as our own National Reconciliation Advisory Group. We were also assisted by ARTD Consultants—a public policy consultancy firm delivering services in evaluation and strategy that have a strong connection with Aboriginal organisations.

Where your input will lead us

The results from the survey will inform an ECA strategy to increase the uptake of developing Reconciliation Action Plans and encourage cultural awareness training in the early childhood sector. A summary of the findings will be made available to inform and support the early childhood sector in their work in this area.

How you can contribute

We invite you to complete this anonymous survey to inform our strategy. This survey may take up to 20 minutes to complete. There are three sections, of which the first has the most questions:

  • Personal perspectives on reconciliation
  • Professional learning
  • Demographics

Complete the survey here.

Completing this survey will assist ECA to champion reconciliation as we continue to be a voice for young children.

‘Reconciliation is a journey. The further we go, the more we understand and the more we realise how far there is to travel.’ Ros Cornish—former ECA National President (ECA RAP, page 2).

For further information on Reconciliation Action Plans visit Narragunnawali. Through their website you can explore what RAP’s are, establish working groups, complete your own reflection survey or submit your RAP and refresh it. The ‘What is a RAP’ page shares the RAP Framework, services that have a RAP, and professional development and curriculum resources.

No matter where you are in your reconciliation journey, we invite you to join the ECA Reconciliation Champions page to collaborate with others and share ideas.

Early Childhood Australia

Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has been a voice for young children since 1938. We are the peak early childhood advocacy organisation, acting in the interests of young children, their families and those in the early childhood field. ECA advocates to ensure quality, social justice and equity in all issues relating to the education and care of children aged birth to eight years.

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