The National Quality Standard (2018) and the Early Years Learning Framework (2009) propose that embedding an Indigenous perspective and sustainability into the curriculum are key priorities for early childhood education services in Australia.
Rocky Hall Preschool has completed our third year of incorporating an Indigenous perspective into our Early Childhood program. We were successful in our application to the Department of Education’s Ninganah No More grant in 2018. Ninganah No More translates to ‘Silent No More’. This Aboriginal language program aims to increase the level of Aboriginal languages being taught in early childhood services across NSW.
Rocky Hall Preschool has deepened relationships with the local Indigenous community and this has provided children, families and educators with respect and knowledge that value Indigenous history and culture. The preschool’s rural and remote location has provided learning opportunities that are rich in connections to nature, care of the environment, local flora, fauna and sea life that embrace an eco-justice approach. Adopting an eco-justice framework supports the preschool’s philosophy around sustainability and social justice.
We view reconciliation through an eco-justice lens that pays attention to relationships between ecological and cultural systems, attention to the environment and racism. This approach recognises local history and the impact on Indigenous groups, giving children, families and educators a greater understanding and empathy of how historical circumstances impact different cultural groups today. Through this learning, the preschool community can look to the future to understand how sustainability issues are evident in the present and what this may mean for relationships between groups of people, and between people and place.
This year we celebrated the NAIDOC theme Because of her, we can with a smoking ceremony in our Yarning Circle and fire pit. This was facilitated by Nathan Lygon and his Mother Melissa Moore. The opportunity for the children and families to be part of the ceremony was a powerful experience that was valued and deeply felt by all involved. The service has enjoyed Nathan’s Early Childhood Program, with the whole preschool community eager to connect with and learn from Nathan’s program. The preschool community values Nathan’s authentic leadership and looks to Nathan as a positive role model for our young children.