Rich lessons of Indigenous culture

Culture is an important building block for every child's future, the communities in which they live and society as a whole

At Cire Children’s Services, the educators have a responsibility to embed Indigenous perspectives into our early year’s program.

Through a range of engaging initiatives and strategies, Cire’s educators are committed to

nurturing in children tolerance, understanding, appreciation and respect for others from as early an age as possible.

Culture is an important building block for every child’s future, the communities in which they live and society as a whole.

In terms of a child’s rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child provides that cultural identity, language and values should be respected.

The National Quality Framework requires that Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander cultures are valued throughout all education and care services.

One of the underpinning philosophies at Cire is to educate children about the importance of our Indigenous culture and the many rich lessons we can learn and apply to our everyday lives, whether it be spiritual in terms of connection with the Land and Dreamtime or more tangible through growing bush tucker, music and storytelling.

Cire Children’s Services is currently working on a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which is a formal statement of commitment to Reconciliation.

Throughout this process, Cire’s educators will continue to build their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and develop ways to incorporate cultural acceptance into daily practice.

They will adopt practices which acknowledge and celebrate our heritage.

As stated in the Department of Education RAP, “While the symbolism behind Reconciliation is extremely powerful, it must also be backed up by practical and deliberate actions that

contribute to improved quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – both within our organization and in the broader community“.

Cire Children’s Services has been an enthusiastic participant in cultural celebrations for both Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week but it has raised the bar.

Its educators want to do more to nurture an understanding of our roots and to embed Indigenous culture into their programs on a daily basis.

As one of the educators says, “It is imperative to teach children from a young age about our history of the First Peoples“.

They Acknowledge Country and our Traditional Landowners at all meetings and our children themselves acknowledge country at special events such as kindergarten graduation.

Cire’s educators immerse different aspects of Aboriginal culture into their practice.

For example, Aboriginal learning techniques such as a yarning circle are used in Cire’s pre-kinder room every day to include Aboriginal perspectives into the children’s routines.

This activity begins with an interactive Acknowledgment of Country to thank Indigenous people past, present and future and for us to learn on the land of the Wurundjeri people.

This is always met with great enthusiasm by the children who are curious learners wanting to know more about the yarning circle and its purpose.

The children are engaged in conversations about what they would like to learn in the circle. Some of the children’s favourites are reading stories and discussing the Indigenous languages.

The children love using the clapping sticks while listening to the song Inanay, a traditional lullaby of the Yorta Yorta language.

Cire Children’s Services is fortunate to have a bush block at its Yarra Junction site which provides a unique opportunity to further reinforce a respectful Indigenous journey for our

students.

Local Indigenous elders have visited Yarra Junction to advise on which plants to grow and how best to care for them.

The educators hope to continue furthering this wonderful relationship.

Children’s Services has also welcomed visitors who have introduced Woiwurrung, the language of the Wurundjeri people.

The children have greatly enjoyed picking up new words such as ’waa’ for crow and practicing with their peers.

Through music, language, and intentional teaching Cire Children’s Services can continue to provide children with opportunities to learn about the rich culture and history of Australia’s Indigenous Nations.

It is hoped that such activities plant the seed children at Cire to develop into adults who genuinely respect and honour the rights of all people and lead others to do likewise.