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Embedding Aboriginal Perspectives through Innovative Solutions Support

1 November 2020

Cherrybrook Pre-school Kindergarten shares their journey about how they embraced and developed an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s histories and culture.

Their Innovative Solutions Support project resulted from a discussion between Barbara Mitchell, the Director and Dolina Hall, their Inclusion Professional. Barbara identified that most of her team came from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. When reflecting on ways to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into their program, the educators communicated that they did not know anything beyond dot painting.

As a starting point to build her own knowledge, Barbara researched her local area and realised she would need assistance to help her team build their knowledge, skills and confidence. Barbara contacted Laurie Bimson, a Guringai man, inviting him to share in the service’s celebrations during NAIDOC Week. It was through this connection that the Innovative Solutions Support project was born.

Laurie invited the team of educators to Gayamaygal country where he has lived all his life. The educators were captivated, as Laurie shared aspects of his culture. They learnt about plants and their uses, Guringai spiritual beliefs and connection to land and earth. They learnt about the history of the area; rock art; use of tools; carvings; language; totems and they even practiced the art of throwing a boomerang.

Laurie visited the service again where he guided the children and educators in creating a native plant, herb and vegetable garden. The idea was to understand Aboriginal beliefs about what the land provides and how to respect and care for it. Laurie supported the children to carve wooden tapping sticks and explained how they are used. The project also explored ways in which educators could use tapping sticks to assist with transition times and in other aspects of the program.

The relationship continues to be strengthened as the service and Laurie explore other ways to embed Aboriginal perspectives within the program.

The Australian Government funded NSW/ACT Inclusion Agency is managed by KU Children’s Services, in partnership with Include Me and Gowrie NSW.