“Through education, we teach children not to hate.
Through education, we raise leaders who act with wisdom and compassion.
Through education, we establish a true, lasting culture of peace,”
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (2012)
Early years education plays a crucial role in developing safe and culturally sustainable societies. This book represents the efforts of pre-service teachers to help their future profession with resources so that the goals of Reconciliation and intercultural education can be more fully realised in early years educational contexts. This project highlighted several key points for us:
- Listen to educators: They know what children need and what the profession needs. Early years teachers are, in many educational systems, the most dedicated yet under-acknowledged professionals in education. In our workshops, the educators wanted to do more to bring social cohesion to Australia through intercultural education, and all were deeply committed to the process of Reconciliation with and for Australia’s Indigenous peoples.
- Pre-service teachers are or are becoming professionals: Many of our pre-service teachers are already working in the early educational field and bring years of experience to their degrees. The opportunity to share their knowledge back to the profession is one way that initial teacher education can meaningfully and authentically develop their professional identities.
- Education has a community role: This book is shared freely so that any early years educator in any early years context can access the resources. In this way, the education of this university’s pre-service teachers serves the community as well as the institution and its students. Knowledge should be freely available for those who need it.
We acknowledge the immense efforts of the students who have contributed to this book and the generous participation of the early years educators who shared their ideas with us. You are crucial to the difficult journey towards a peaceful society. Reconciliation and intercultural education have lofty goals – to increase educational equity for all learners and to reduce societal bias and prejudice – but step-by-step, resource by resource, shared conversation by shared conversation, these goals can be achieved.