Early years educators are committed to giving children education and care that honours and values childhood, and gives each child the best start to life. In Australia, part of this commitment involves actively bringing children into the process of Reconciliation with and for Australia’s First Nations peoples. Another part requires educators to nurture children’s positive participation in Australia’s vibrant multicultural community. This book therefore presents resources in two parts: Reconciliation and Intercultural Resources.
Within the two parts, each chapter represents a student response to early years educators’ concerns about the resources needed for understanding and teaching Reconciliation and intercultural education in the early years. The left column of the table below shows the educator concerns in their own words, while the right column lists our student chapters. (The instructions that led to these resources can be found in the Appendix of Gems & Nuggets which was produced by a previous cohort of students.)
Each chapter presents the resource and a link for downloading where relevant, an explanation of how to use the resource and a rationale. To help educators contextualise the resources, most chapters also present links to key guiding documents for the Australian early years context: the Early Years Learning Framework (national curriculum for 0-5 years), the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline (state curriculum for 0-5 years) and the National Quality Standard (national quality benchmarks for early years education and care settings). We hope this collection of resources helps address the needs identified by early years educators and that their growth of professional knowledge will flow on to the children their care.
CONCERNS RELATED TO RECONCILIATION
|I really want exposure and access to Indigenous cultural resources. Where can I source local knowledge and stories that are meaningful and within a context that my local Indigenous children understand?||Diverse Indigenous resources|
|We’re really struggling with making connections with the local community elders. Can someone put together some ideas for this, specific to a location in Queensland?||Community resources and services|
|I wish we had more opportunities to make connections, formally and informally. There are email groups but there’s no real sense of the person. A personal approach is more effective because conversations, sharing, knowing someone personally makes meaning. How can we create more opportunities to make community connections for Reconciliation?||Making cultural and professional connections|
|We’re mostly white educators at our service and we’re not sure; how much are we allowed to share of Indigenous culture? Are there any guidelines?||Guidelines for embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives|
|From an operational level, we need time to connect. From a managerial level, we have to have the ability to replace staff so they can attend professional development. Do you have any ideas for how early years education and care services can create opportunities for their staff to learn more about Reconciliation?||Organising a professional learning event|
|Our regulatory body is very black and white. They don’t always have the time to be creative. This is why we need people to step in and be creative. Our children know technology, they’re very savvy with it, so can we put some cultural stuff into that?
||Digital ideas for Reconciliation|
CONCERNS RELATED TO MULTICULTURAL OR INTERCULTURAL EDUCATION
|We’re having to find our own resources and the best one we found was through the Department of Health! These resources are like little diamonds. But they’re not readily accessible. How can educators access these if they don’t know that they’re there? Can you help us with similar shareable resources for multicultural early years education?||Shareable resources|
|At the least, I need words in different languages to comfort children when they’re upset or for toilet training. Can someone make a resource with simple, useful phrases that we could use with children? 85% of our children are Vietnamese but resources in any of Australia’s community languages would be great!||English to Vietnamese phrases|
|I wish there was a community of practice where you could talk to other educators who are experiencing similar challenges. The fact is, we’re time-poor, dispersed, and in many cases, we’re each other’s competition. To bridge that gap and focus on some of our big issues will be how we have our impact. Given the challenges in our sector, how can we create communities of practice for early years educators interested in multicultural education?||Establishing communities of practice: Dalby|
|The department’s guidelines for school lunches are all in English. I tell parents “Sandwiches aren’t your only option. You can take fried rice to school. Children can eat it cold. I know you’d prefer they eat it hot, but it’s better for them to have familiar food that they like rather than something they don’t usually eat”. Can you make some guidelines to help parents with culturally diverse backgrounds prepare school lunches?||Healthy food for lunchboxes|
|There’s no diversity in the go-to-school packs. In transition stuff from the department, there’s no diversity. It’s the little things that help make the transition from a child from kindy to prep easier. Are you able to make any transition resources for families who don’t have an Anglo-Australian cultural background?||Transition advice in Spanish|