2023 Early Childhood Australia National Conference

Kumarninthi—Becoming one: Old ways, new wisdom

Our Deputy Head of School Early Learning and Teacher Victoria Kirkwood attended the 35th Early Childhood Australia National Conference held at the Adelaide Convention Centre in South Australia and shared with us some highlights of the event.

The theme Kumarninthi—Becoming one: Old ways, new wisdom reinforces that although we still hold on to and value old ways, theoretical perspectives and knowledge, there is and can be a contemporary approach to implementing this into new wisdom and becoming one.

Kumarninthi means ‘becoming one’ and comes from the South Australian Kaurna people. Victoria shared that Aunty Suzanne Russell opened the conference with a powerful and moving Welcome to Country. The sense of peace and connection with 2,000 people was palpable. Over the course of three days Aunty Suzanne invited them to join her in painting collaboratively. As they yarned about one of her paintings she explained “when you have true peace the world is vibrant.” This really resonated with the ELC’s current review of the IGS philosophy values and what they mean to us.

“I was honoured to showcase the IGS ELC Language for Belonging project by presenting a poster each day at the conference. Through embedding First Nations perspectives with authenticity our earliest learners are part of the generational change needed,” Victoria explained.

She attended over 30 sessions that she found to be informative, inspiring and challenging. Some of the highlights included international speaker Dr Jools Page. Dr Page’s research centres on the concept of ‘professional love,’ bringing intellectual capacity and emotional resilience to the relational and caring component of education.

Other key themes explored were the rights of the child, pedagogy and curriculum planning, the importance of nature and wellbeing, the benefits of languages and music, transition to school, leadership and inclusion for all; including gender expansive practices.

On the final day, it was a special moment to witness Aunty Denise Proud win the Barbara Creaser Award. As she shared her life experiences the attendees were compelled to listen to her final message and carry on changing the narrative and fighting for reconciliation, ‘If you change nothing, nothing changes.’

“The opportunity to learn, connect and share with early childhood and other allied professionals was truly valuable,” Victoria said.

Victoria will be sharing all that she has learned with the ELC team over the coming weeks.

IGS values the importance of sharing knowledge and incentivates professional development. We would like to thank Ms Kirkwood for attending the event, showcasing our School and sharing the outcomes with her peers.