Twenty people attended in person with others joining via Zoom. Attendees included educators from a variety of Early Childhood Services as well as the Tertiary Education profession, and Early Childhood Consultants.
We were also joined by a representative from the independent national authority that assists governments in administering the National Quality Framework (NQF) for children’s education and care, the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).
“It was wonderful to showcase the Language for Belonging project where we renamed our ELC classrooms and researched Indigenous totems in depth,” said Acting Deputy Head of School Early Learning – Educational Leader Victoria Kirkwood.
“The project spanned 18 months including working with Wiradjuri Artist in Residence Bianca Caldwell to create totem artworks and IGS Composer in Residence Harry Sdraulig to create an original composition.
“We focussed on growing our cultural competence and explored pushing of boundaries, personally, professionally and organisationally, as we continually learn and unlearn.
“It was a fantastic evening with rich, deep pedagogical discussion and admiration for the authenticity of the project embedding First Nations knowledge, cultures and languages. The collegial feedback was overwhelmingly positive.”
“The group acknowledged the personal and professional boundaries we take when engaging in challenging projects and learning about First Nations peoples. The conversation was rich and robust.
“Our team was brave sharing their personal reflections during the discussions. What an amazing example of critical reflection! Each of us are at different stages of our understanding of the Reggio Emilia philosophy and at our own level of First Nations cultural competence.
“Key themes emerged including placing relationships first, being brave, understanding cultural protocols and including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in active decision making.
“I am very proud of the learning journey we are all on together as we strive to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and culture authentically and meaningfully in our service.”