In a gentle way, you can shake the world.
As teacher educators, we know that many early years professionals possess a strong commitment to education and care that is inclusive and respectful of diversity. The challenge, as expressed by educators we spoke with in 2019, is to nourish this commitment with resources and opportunities for professional development. This book and the volume before it aimed to contribute in a small way to inspiring and invigorating professional learning and practice for those educators who want to know and do more for Reconciliation, providing cultural safety for children and their families, responding to diversity and building their own cultural competencies for professional and personal contexts.
In addition, this book represents a step in the authors’ learning journeys as emergent professionals. Australia’s early years curriculum is named Belonging, being and becoming (DEEWR, 2009) words which are, of course, apt for young children who are growing into their identities and discovering the world around them and their role in it. However, these words also have relevance for students studying to join or advance in the early years profession. Pre-service teachers gain a sense of belonging when they participate in activities of the profession such as creating professional resources. They experience being a professional when the activities they participate in are relevant to the present and not to some distant future after graduation. By openly publishing their work (which takes some courage), students dip their toes in the waters of professional life, becoming members of a professional community and leading professional learning. As such, this book encompasses each author’s aspirations to belong, be and become culturally responsive and culturally nourishing practitioners. Should the cultural knowledge of early years educators and their desire to promote Reconciliation ripple through their interactions with children, families and communities, then the world will be gently shaken for the better.