Kids College respects our shared Australia culture and are actively teaching about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We are working with the Narragunnawali organisation and have developed our Kids College Reconciliation Action Plan specific to our Whadjuk region. This article covers our Kids College RAP and our involvement with the Narragunnawali platform.

Kids College RAP vision statement

At Kids College we view the context of family, culture and diversity as central to a child’s sense of being and belonging. Everyone needs to grow up with an understanding of and a respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures through our shared history as Australians. Reconciliation is something for everyone to understand and be part of. We want to create a culture of respect, where we come together in peace and harmony to celebrate the richness of our amazing country and ensure that the children we teach today grow up to be leaders and share their knowledge with future generations.

Learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders rich history

All Australian students and children need to grow up understanding and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions to increase respect and build stronger relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community.

What is the Narragunnawali Platform?

Narragunnawali supports schools and early learning services in Australia to develop environments that foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions.

Narragunnawali (pronounced narra-gunna-wally) is a word from the language of the Ngunnawal people, Traditional Owners of the land on which Reconciliation Australia’s Canberra office is located, meaning alive, wellbeing, coming together and peace.

Narragunnawali is perfectly suited to schools and early learning services that don’t have many Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander student enrolments.

Narragunnawali’s is an online platform that provides practical ways to introduce meaningful reconciliation initiatives in the classroom, around our school and with the community. They have an online professional learning and have curriculum resource to support the implementation of reconciliation initiatives.

Through the Narragunnawali platform, we have developed our own Kids College Reconciliation Action plan.

Narragunnawali RAPs provide a manageable but whole-scale framework for driving reconciliation in education, with a holistic focus on strengthening relationships, respect and opportunities in the classroom, around the school and with the local community alike.

What is a RAP?

A “RAP” is a formal statement of commitment to reconciliation. A school or early learning service can develop a RAP using the Narragunnawali platform to register existing initiatives or to begin a new journey. RAP Actions are the commitments included in the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). There are 39 RAP Actions, each of which relates to relationships, respect and opportunities, as they play out in the classroom, around the school or early learning service and with the community. At Kids College we chose 16 actions to implement over a year across Kids College.

While a RAP represents a plan of action, it is important for schools and early learning services to ensure that their RAPs also function as ‘living documents’ – entering into the RAP development process with integrity; purposefully embedding RAP commitments into everyday practice; and engaging in ongoing critical reflection, consultation and collaboration with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and community.

What is reconciliation?

Reconciliation’ is a complex term that can mean many different things to many different people. In many ways, it can be considered 

quite a contestable term in that it implies an inherent or initial ‘conciliation.’ However, in acknowledging the truths of colonial Australia’s relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, it becomes clear that this relationship has been historically characterised by a number of (often intergenerational) injustices, such as physical violence, forced dispossession of traditional lands, and overt and unapologetic racism.

Drawing the very diverse perspectives around reconciliation together, and drawing on both national and international research, the landmark The State of Reconciliation in Australia report (2016) nevertheless found that, at its core, reconciliation comprises five integral and interrelated dimensions: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity; and unity. Engaging with Narragunnawali provides an opportunity for educational communities to weave these dimensions together in positive and practical ways, and to harness the powerful role that education – learning, un-learning and re-learning – has to play within our nation’s reconciliation journey.

How does the Narraunnawali platform facilitate professional learning?

Narragunnawali’s professional learning resources are designed to be teacher-led and can be used individually, in small groups or during staff meetings. The resources helps build our staffing team’s staff awareness and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, and contributions, and to support the implementation of reconciliation initiatives. All professional learning resources are linked to RAP Actions, and aligned to the National Quality Standard (early learning) and the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (primary and secondary).

KIDS COLLEGE SHARING COMMUNITY

We will be sharing our learning with our community via our facebook page and on our website. 

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KIDS COLLEGE RECONCILIATION PLAN CONSISTS OF THE FOLLOWING ACTIONS

RELATIONSHIPS

IN THE CLASSROOM

Enhance teaching and learning • activities by engaging Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people
from within the early learning service community. 


Support educators to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures into the curriculum as outlined in the EYLF. 


AROUND THE SCHOOL


Provide opportunities for staff to build and extend knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. 

WITH THE COMMUNITY

Coordinate a Welcome to Country • for significant events. 


Celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW) from 27 May to 3 June each year.

Build relationships with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community that are founded on mutual respect , trust and inclusiveness.

RESPECT

IN THE CLASSROOM

Teach about the concept, history and progress of reconciliation in Australia.

Raise awareness of current affairs and issues in the public domain that are of particular significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the process of reconciliation.

AROUND THE SCHOOL

Develop understanding of what it means to acknowledge Country, and provide everyone the opportunity to do so at meetings and events throughout the year.

WITH THE COMMUNITY

Fly or display the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags all year round to demonstrate pride and respect for Australia’s First Peoples.

OPPORTUNITIES

IN THE CLASSROOM

Ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures are incorporated in curriculum planning, development and evaluation processes.

AROUND THE SCHOOL

Ensure policies are inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and aim to increase knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.

Encourage staff to be involved in the ongoing development and implementation of the RAP through staff development opportunities.

Effectively incorporate reconciliation into professional engagement with the ACECQA National Quality Standard.

WITH THE COMMUNITY

Celebrate RAP progress in the early learning service and throughout the community

Raise awareness of, teach about, and take positive action against racism.

Learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders rich history

All Australian students and children need to grow up understanding and celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions to increase respect and build stronger relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community. 

Teaching love and respect for diversity

The greater community and our country’s commitment to our Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander cultures set a foundation for respect and understanding that children need to grow up with. Each child is growing up being affected by the wonderful communities we live in. Bronfenbrenner’s ecological systems theory places child development in an ecological perspective, in which an individual’s experience is at the centre, within a nested interconnected systems of influences. Each of us are part of each child’s nested systems of influence and we all shape our children’s minds. It is up to us all to teach love and respect.

Fear of getting it wrong

Finding ways to celebrate in culturally respectful ways can sometimes be a difficult space to navigate.  Educators may feel the pressure of ‘getting it wrong’ or of being accused of being ‘tokenistic’ in their efforts. This fear is genuine, and indeed, it is understandable. It is not, however, adequate justification to deliberately steer away from engaging altogether with Indigenous topics.

Opportunity to learn about our oldest culture

In the past, it has not been uncommon to see Indigenous culture being put into the ‘too hard’ category when it comes to the classroom. Ultimately, it is the children who miss out when this happens. When students are denied an opportunity to learn about Indigenous culture, history and perspectives, they miss out on a unique opportunity to have their education enriched by 60,000 plus years of knowledge.

What is needed to address this fear and anxiety which sometimes surrounds Indigenous perspectives is support for and education of our educators. We need to equip educators with the knowledge and confidence to engage authentically with Indigenous culture in their classrooms and to communicate Indigenous content appropriately to their students. Our involvement in the Narragunnawali RAP program affords us the opportunity to learn and become immersed in this important topic.

Cultural tokenism

‘Cultural tokenism’ occurs when aspects of culture are acknowledged inadequately or simply because someone is trying to ‘tick a box’; the result is an activity which is devoid of any real meaning and worse, can actually contribute towards perpetuating stereotypes of a particular cultural group.

Our knowledge as adults empowers us

Knowledge is power, and for an educator to explore sensitive topics with young children, they themselves must first have a solid understanding of the topic at hand, and in particular the historical, contemporary and also political nature of the topic. This means educating the educator so that they have the capacity to not only develop culturally appropriate content but also communicate this knowledge to their students in age-appropriate ways. We are constantly assessing the suitability of confronting certain topics with our young children. We have decided to explore ideas as adults first and then ascertain what and how we will teach our children. For instance we have not delved too much into sorry day and feel it is not appropriate to speak with our young children about the stolen generation, however we have explored the topic of reconciliation in other ways, through stories, rhymes, art, dances and visitors to our centre. 

Kids College Philosophy quote

‘We value our collaborative partnerships with professional, community and research organisations and enjoy playing an active role in shaping the future of early childhood education.’

‘We view the context of family, culture and diversity as central to children’s sense of being and belonging.’

National Quality Standards

6.2.3 Community engagement. The service builds relationships and engages with its community.

Kids College family

At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input.

Let us know if you have any comments, suggestions, queries of know of any resources we night make use of. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on [email protected]

With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the 
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family