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Educator Yarns Episode 16: Special episode: Family Day Care educator’s panel including Caroline Douglas, Renata Stipanovic and Sarah Metcalfe

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 Complete Show Notes for Episode 16

Jessica:

Welcome to the Koori Curriculum Educators Podcast. My name is Jessica Staines, Wiradjuri woman, early childhood teacher, and director of the Koori Curriculum. I would like to acknowledge the Darkinjung people, the traditional custodians of the land on which the podcast is being recorded. I like to acknowledge the elders both past, present and emerging, and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander listeners.

Jessica:

Did you know that the Koori Curriculum sends out fortnightly fact sheets, on topics such as bush tucker, reconciliation action plans, celebrations such as NAIDOC week, and Sorry Day, to help educators develop their understanding on how they can include Aboriginal perspectives in their every day programme, and connect with their local Aboriginal community? If you would like to receive these free fact sheets, please sign up to our newsletter, at www.kooricurriculum.com.

Jessica:

Yaama everyone. This episode is a special family day care educator's episode, where I'm talking to Caroline, Renata and Sarah, who are family day care educators scattered across Sydney, and the Northern Beaches in New South Wales. Uh, where we've come together in separate interviews, but all talking about the same topic, on how family day care educators can best include Aboriginal perspectives in their programme, and connect with their local Aboriginal community. As we recognise that family day care educators have a quite unique position, and the way that we would approach this work in their setting is quite different to how we would to this for, for USH educators, or early learning educators that are working in a pre school, or long day care.

Jessica:

So I'll be reading out each of their bios separately, and you'll hear their voices scattered across this podcast. So I hope you enjoy.

Jessica:

Just wanting to read out one of our speaker bios. So Caroline Douglas, she lives in Manly, or Garigal country in Freshwater, around that area. And she's worked in family day care for around 30 years, for Northern Beaches Council. She currently lives in the same house that her grandmother once lived in, and she has five children of her own, Rebecca, Luke, Bethany, Josh, and Zach.

Jessica:

So, today's guest is Renata, from Renata's Family Day Care. And she writes that first and foremost, she is a mom. To Linda, 28, Nick, 24, Steve, 23, and Dave, 20, who are her ultimate pride and joys. She's been running Renata's Family Day Care for 22 years, and in that time, she's seen many changes, both good and bad. One thing for certain, Renata says, is the quality of curriculum and care is of the highest quality today, than it has ever been before. With social media and online training, there is now more opportunities than ever for family day care educators to empower themselves with knowledge.

Jessica:

Another one of our speakers today is Sarah McAllif. And she's an early childhood educator, re-enactor and pop culture nerd. She is diploma trained, with 21 years of experience of early childhood, both in long day care services and family day care. And she's always learning and growing. She has a Facebook group which is called Mud Pies and Blue Skies Family Day Care, which I encourage you to join, to follow Sarah, and see all the amazing, wonderful experiences that she is providing.

Jessica:

So, I know that you're still on the Northern Beaches now, in Manly. And would you say that there's a lot of racial diversity now, compared to how it was when you were growing up? Because I know a lot of people still refer to the Northern Beaches as being the insular peninsula, and there's not a whole lot of diversity compared to other parts of Sydney, I guess.

Caroline:

No, there is slowly now, the schools are becoming very diverse. We are getting different cultures now. But it's taken a good 30 years since I've been in childcare to get where we are now. And it's been an uphill battle. But in saying that, now I have been acknowledged in being a regional educator, which is amazing. That's a huge thing to win in family day care, because there's one in 5000 won that award. And then I got the Shining Star as well, so, that's just because I was in care more than 15 years. But I'm up against 5000 other educators to win that. So that's pretty huge.

Jessica:

Yeah

Caroline:

That also gives us more exposure. We've only recently, have written our wrap for Northern Beaches Council, so that's how far behind we are. And we are having our first Indigenous Conference on the 26th of October, on the Northern Beaches, and that's a first ever for family day care. Which seems a little bit sad I many ways, but-

Jessica:

But it's a good sign, though, that times are changing.

Caroline:

We're progressing.

Jessica:

And things are moving, yeah.

Renata:

Family day care's just so different to centre care. And being on our own, it's really left up to our own devices to create our own Aboriginal tool kit, I guess. You know what I mean? Like, if we don't get up and do it, and initiate it ourselves, it just doesn't happen. Like, nobody out there sort of focuses on the needs of the family day care educators. And they kind of, sort of, it's all early childhood. But other educators sort of bounce of each other in the centres, whereas we're left on our own.

Renata:

So we've got to do a lot of it ourselves.

Jessica:

Yeah, and are you part of the scheme?

Renata:

I'm part of Sutherland Council's scheme, yeah.

Jessica:

And do they have a reconciliation action plan?

Renata:

I believe that they don't, because I questioned this. And I was actually quite surprised to hear that they don't. Now, the reason behind that, I have no idea. Because they're pretty on top of everything. Like, compliance, and sort of training, sending their educators to PDs, and all this sort of stuff. So I was, I don't know the reasoning behind it. Now, this was quite a while back that I asked, because it was when I was looking at doing mine. And so I asked if they had one, and they said, no.

Renata:

And I can't remember what the response was when I questioned that, but they don't. Although-

Jessica:

Sometimes it's hard, like, if they're part of Council, or something like that, and they have a reconciliation action plan, then they fit under that umbrella. But they might not have one for their department or something. But look, I agree. I think the issue is, with family day care educators, particularly, when I start working with a centre, I always say to them, look. Start a reconciliation action plan, and then we can document your progress, and we can assign actions out, and all that sort of stuff. But that doesn't quite work with family day care, because it's a one stop shop.

Jessica:

Like, the buck stops with you, essentially. [inaudible 00:07:27] to shoulder, and-

Renata:

Well, I question the other educators in my scheme. Because there's only about, we're not real big. There's only about 25 of us. I'm guessing, around about. And I questioned all of them. None, not one of them had had one, or has one. Not one of them would even know where to start, really. So, the only reason I was exposed to it all was through you, through doing that one workshop. And then that lead to another, which lead to another, which lead to another. So it's all come from I guess, networking and forming partnership in community, too. Like, with various people that are in the know. And we're learning from them. And that's sort of my own personal learning journey.

Renata:

But as far as the other family day care educators in my scheme, I haven't got any idea.

Jessica:

So where exactly are you located now?

Sarah:

Okay, so I'm out at Camden, is where I live. I'm under two different schemes. So I'm under Camden Council, and I'm also under Wollondilly Council. Because I'm a relief educator, so yeah. I do work for them. I have been under private schemes, as well, but with the amount of work I get, just the two councils is usually enough.

Jessica:

Yeah. And so working across multiple family day care services, how do you see educators including Aboriginal perspectives in their programme?

Sarah:

There's a huge difference, even between the two schemes. I know Camden Family Day Care has been very, very proactive with inservices, and setting up the reconciliation action plan party, meetings with Big Yellow Umbrella, and with coordinators and educators, and parents, to work on an action plan. Wollondilly Council, I mean, they are very great, but they haven't been as proactive. And I think you'll find that with different schemes, is that some schemes are very proactive with trying to get their educators into embedding an Indigenous perspective. And others aren't as much.

Sarah:

And then, it does come down to the individual educators, as well.

Jessica:

So, I know that you've got your Facebook page, like Renata's Family Day Care. And I know that a lot of family day carers are watching your Facebook page, because they, it's more relatable for their context.

Renata:

I guess so, yeah.

Jessica:

And I think reconciliation action plans, I'm a huge advocate for them. But they sort of blanket high school, primary school and early childhood. And sometimes some of the language that they use isn't quite reflective of our profession in early childhood. But I think even more so, there's a disconnect for out of school care hours educators, and for family day care educators. Because the way that you put it into practise isn't the same, because, and I think sometimes it's slower, and you have to be, I think, sort of realistic of your expectations, I suppose. That you can't put this pressure on yourself, because there's only you, and you're having to balance so many other things at the same time.

Renata:

So I guess it's important just to find a way to embed it, as a natural process daily. Because it's important. So, whether it looked different to that in a bigger centre or not, but it needs to be there. I think it's important that it is there somehow, rather than not at all. And I guess a lot of educators get scared too. They're scared of doing the wrong thing, or offender. Because they might share something that they do, and they get dumped on.

Renata:

And that kind of scares people to speak up, and you've got to speak up to learn. Otherwise you can't learn.

Jessica:

So have you been a family day carer for the whole of your career, for the whole 30 years? Or were you also in long day care and pre-school?

Caroline:

No, I've always been in family day care. So I've raised five of my own children, as well. And then raised half of the community, as well. So people know me in Manly. And I've always taught the way with lots of natural resources anyway, because there wasn't a lot of money. But I just found it naturally, I could naturally teach it, because I knew it.

Jessica:

Yeah. And I know that you've been quite thrifty. I think the other thing is, is like the budgeting side of it. Like, you don't have a huge budget as a family day care educator, that you're working with. Essentially, it's your own business.

Caroline:

That's right, yeah.

Jessica:

But then you have four children a day. So it's not a huge amount of income that you're generating, and then it's not the only thing that you've got to be paying out of that budget. But I think it's about being, like, I know that you've made some of your resources, and you've collected things from reverse garbage, and sort of keeping bits and pieces together. But you've done that slowly-

Caroline:

Very slowly, yeah.

Jessica:

-over time. Look, it's a hard task for family day care educators, because they're there on their own, the majority of the time. They only get lunch breaks, because not all the children are going to be sleeping at the same time, and they've still got their programming and everything else they've got to do at the back end, admin wise, for running their own businesses. Then source professional development opportunities. I mean, it's a hard yak when you don't have team around you to support and share that load, or to bounce ideas off. I think it can be very isolating.

Sarah:

Yeah, it can be. And that's why having a scheme that is very supportive, and very proactive about not just embedding Indigenous perspectives, but also about looking at things such as sustainability, and passing on information to the carers that are-

Jessica:

Feeding it through, yes.

Sarah:

-in the scheme yeah. And just even sending small articles, or just emails that are just pictures of different set ups, saying, oh, it's at so and so's place. This is how she is embedding an Indigenous perspective into her service. And there's some ideas that you can use.

Jessica:

What are some of the places that you've gone to, to collect your resources?

Renata:

So look, for me, I don't know if you remember. But the very first workshop I did was with you back in 2016. It was that embedding authentic practise in your setting. And it wasn't until I did that particular workshop, and I think, if I remember rightly, I think it was an all day workshop, or an all morning workshop, or something at Redfern, yeah.

Jessica:

It actually was.

Renata:

And it wasn't until I did that workshop, that I realised how little I knew. And I was quite shocked, because I kind of thought, I know enough. But I actually didn't know much at all. And that was a realisation that sort of hit me in the face. And then, I guess because I felt it was quite important, and I was intrigued myself. I mean, this is the culture of my country, and I know so little about it. So, that was a start of my journey. And then I guess at the workshops, there are resources there to get.

Renata:

I mean, that's where you're going to get the quality resources, isn't it? When you go to a quality workshop, as your workshops are. Because you know that they've been authentically resourced. And then, I guess, and then one thing led to another. My interest took me into all different areas. And then I started to expose myself to the black markets. I got in contact with the lady that's, Mary Jacobs, big in the Sutherland Shire Reconciliation Group. Made a good friendship with her. I also take my children, my day care children out to the Loftus play group session, and I used to run into her there, as well.

Renata:

So just been great. Like, I've learnt a lot of stuff from her, and a lot of ideas. I've created a, organised an Indigenous play session event with her. She ran it for us, and it was just for the family day care educators in my scheme. And she put together a whole heap of activities to show us how, we don't need a lot of money, that we can create them ourselves. And so it's just all a learning process. You collect nature bits as you're walking. Where else do you get? Sometimes we make things out of resource that are collected at reverse garbage. You've just got to be creative, I guess.

Caroline:

And it's very easy to get going. It's a lot of gathering and collecting. And then just use your perspective on how you feel you want to use your resources. We use a lot of sand, and cockatoo feathers, and wool in weaving. We made the little people, as well. I've been doing that for years.

Jessica:

Often I say to educators, put your hands up if the children have been interested in dinosaurs this year, or under the sea, or transport? It's the same interest year in and year out. So we need to work smarter and not harder, and make sure that, like if you're doing transport, and you've already researched ways we can include an Aboriginal perspective in that interest, then why not share those ideas, so I'm not having to start at ground zero when that interest comes around for me?

Sarah:

Yeah. And I think with the isolation with family day care, that, for the other educators that are doing it, with them reaching out. It is a huge help. And I mean, I know when I first started learning about embedding an Indigenous perspective, it was when I first just sort of come out of long day care, and it had just, like, the EYLF had just come in. And it had just started being talked about.

Sarah:

I know for myself, that you do. You start out basic, and then if you have the time, you research, and I find also a really, really good way for any family daycare educator, the first thing is, when it is NAIDOC week, every local council has NAIDOC week things on. And it's a great excursion for the children. And it's one way where I started really learning, and connecting with my local community, and finding out what other things were on, and what other things I could be doing and incorporating with the children.

Jessica:

Yes. And I think, so you go into the NAIDOC week website. You put in your postcode, or you click on your area, and it should come up with a list. And I think often, there are, whether it's a community gathering, or it's a story time at a library, or something that's happening at an art gallery. I mean, getting out of your home, and taking children out into the community, or to play groups and play sessions where these events and storytellers are going to be present, I think is one way, that exposure, that you can then bring that back with you into your home. But I think NAIDOC week, and using that as an opportunity to connect with community is a really important thing.

Jessica:

What are some of the challenges that you think family day care educators have in including Aboriginal perspectives in their programmes?

Caroline:

They just don't know it. They haven't been exposed to it. So, I think if they're exposed to it more, and easy ideas, it's not expensive. And some of them are saying, oh, the resources are so expensive. I'm going, well actually, they're not if you're using natural products.

Jessica:

Yeah, so thinking about what you have around you, and being thrifty and innovative with natural materials is a really good way to sort of start, and enter in? And I think you also have to have that vision in your head, of what it can look like. And I think it's, as you say, a lot of educators, they're really worried about doing the wrong thing, and offending someone. And there's so much conflicting advice out there about what's okay, what's not okay, and can we play the didgeridoo? Can we do dot painting? Can we read dream time stories? All of those things, and I think it, you need to have I guess the relationship, like what you have with Mary Jacobs, who's amazing. She's the President of Sutherland Shire Reconciliation, and-

Renata:

And look, we've got Catherine Lee here, too, around the corner. We've got quite a few great role models to learn from in my area. And these people are active. So they've often got events that they've put together, and it's just a matter of going to these events, immersing yourself with these people, and you learn, and that's how you learn. And you might hear from someone there, oh, you can get such and such resources from here, or such and such. I think it's just a learning journey. I think you can't put a time on it, and you can't sort of do a workshop, learn it, and that's it. It's ongoing.

Sarah:

Social media is absolutely wonderful that we have it now, because also, I know for my local area, we've got the Darwal Land Council. And they have their own Facebook page. So connecting with your local land council via their Facebook pages, they will put up things that are on. And they may not be relevant to taking children to, but it might be something that's on in an evening that you could go, oh, okay. I will go and have a look, and I will go and meet people, and start making the connections that way, as well.

Sarah:

And also, Facebook pages like the Koori Curriculum, and Cultural Inclusions. Because I also find that's a big thing that is missed, is Torres Strait Islander perspective.

Jessica:

Yes, I agree.

Sarah:

Yeah, that most people. And I'm guilty of it myself, because we are so far away from the Torres Strait Islands. And it's like, well this isn't a part of my every day life. And so, looking at Facebook pages like Cultural Inclusions, that they, every Friday for Floral Friday, they will put up a nice easy sort of activity or experience that you can do with the children, that links back to Torres Strait Islander culture.

Sarah:

And so, yeah, social media for things like that. Not just for family day care educators, but long day care educators, is a great way.

Jessica:

And why do you think it's so important to include this in your curriculum, Aboriginal perspectives?

Renata:

Well, because we are on Aboriginal land. This is the roots of our culture, the roots of our country. It's a respect thing. I mean, I can't imagine why we haven't already. I just, I don't understand it. So, for me, it's kind of like, you can't change the past, but you can change the future. I mean, our children need to know how this country came about, and where it all started. I think it's vital. I don't know that there's any other way to do it.

Jessica:

Yeah. And I think for a long time, it's not that educators didn't want to do it. I think they didn't know how. And I think for a lot of people, they're still finding their way. And you've given those real good tips, I think, is that, go and get the training. Get some knowledge, because you need to feel confident yourself, before you can share it with children and families.

Renata:

Absolutely, yeah.

Jessica:

And then understand that it's a process. It's not just a one off training session that you go to, and then you can tick that box, and you're culturally competent, and off you go. But-

Renata:

Yeah, not at all, yeah.

Jessica:

-cultural inclusion and building relationships, and showing up, and over time. And I think that's one of the things that I've notices. Like, we met in 2016, but even before that, I was aware of you because or your page, Renata's Family Day Care. And you're the type of person that you just show up. You show up again and again and again, and that's what speaks a lot I think for Aboriginal people. Is that we can tell when somebody's genuine. They're not just doing that one off tourist approach, where they show up and they have a bit of an experience, and then off they go to the next thing. But this has really become a real value of yours, part of your ethos, part of your philosophy. And you can see that every day.

Renata:

I guess because it's a priority. Like, if it's not a priority, well then, it's not going to be a priority. You know what I mean? Like, I guess every educator has to decide, I mean, everyone's got their own philosophy, what's important to them and what's the priority to them. So it's going to look different in every service, isn't it? And so it's time to learn. So I'm learning with the children, and the children are learning with me, and the families, they come along and learn as well. So we're all sort of learning together. And the more I expose myself to events, and I mean, there's stuff going on all the time. If you just, if you're in contact with your local community, you'll be surprised at how much stuff is out there. You've just got to stick your nose in, and be aware of what's going on.

Jessica:

And often it's like that domino effect. You meet one person, then they introduce you to the next one, and the next one, and the next one. And you just meet more and more people, just from that one experience. You all get connected up. And I think that community, in the Loftus area, I think that's so important. Because I think for family day care educators, it can be quite isolating. Particularly if they're not part of a scheme, and they're just out there on their own.

Renata:

Yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Jessica:

To be around other people that have the same challenges, that the programme is relatable to the one that you're working in. You need to have a support group around you.

Renata:

You know what I think has been life changing for family day care educators of late, is the fact that there is now webinars that we can attend. Because, if they're educators like me, I work five days, I can't get to any of the quality trainings, because most of them are not on a Saturday. Very few will be held on a Saturday. But it's really hard. So with today's technology and webinars that are out there, there's so much opportunity for educators to do this training in their own home, in their own time, and empower themselves with knowledge, and then go from there.

Jessica:

And that's part of the reason why we developed our own webinars. And not just for family day care educators, I suppose, but also for services in regional areas, where sometimes like, for them, just to travel to get to a training session, it can cost them 600 dollars just in flights, before they even pay for the PD.

Renata:

Of course.

Jessica:

And you really want to, if you're a team, you want to be able to do that with your whole team. And that's the idea with this podcast, is that people, I mean, there's different levels of things. Like, we have webinars, we have workshops, we have books, we have all of those things. But regardless if educators have a professional development budget or not, I want them to be able to access the knowledge, to be able to get the information from somewhere. So hopefully if there are educators that are listening to these, they're no cost. And at least it gives them some ideas of Facebook pages that they can follow. Or, a lot of people don't know about the black markets, that they're a Sydney Aboriginal market.

Jessica:

So they just give them those little tops and clues of where they can start to look, and make those connections.

Renata:

Well, that's how-

Jessica:

But I think it's a gradual process. Like, I don't think that educators, they've got to have realistic expectations, that you just can't click your fingers, and all of a sudden you're going to be culturally competent, and have all of these knowledge, and all of these resources, and all of these ideas. I think it's a pragmatic approach where-

Caroline:

It's going to take another-

Jessica:

-you practise with lots of small steps. Like, you've been to 30 years. That's a long time to get to where you're at, and it wasn't easy for you, either.

Caroline:

Well, it just came naturally to me. But I have been exposed to it since I was a little girl. But the people that haven't been exposed to it, as in the other educators, it is hard for them to grasp some ideas. So I probably will have to network with them really well, as well, to get them where they need to be. And that's just going to take time.

Jessica:

And are there any organisations or committees in the Northern Beaches that are Aboriginal specific?

Caroline:

Well, there's only the Manly Community Centre where they get together at NAIDOC week, where they do do the weaving, and then they have a ceremony at Queenscliff Bridge. And a traditional ceremony. So they do do that, but that's about all we have.

Jessica:

And are there any protocols that educators need to be aware of with including Aboriginal perspectives in their programme?

Caroline:

Well, we have started that. We are encouraged to have something like, speaking our country every day. But also having Indigenous resources, like all long day, or preschools, to be on the floor every day doing something Indigenous. Like, it's a normal protocol. So it's not something written that we have to do it, but it's a normal protocol that we have something down every day for them to do.

Jessica:

And when you go to different services, do you take with you a kit of resources or books that you've collected along the way, to inspire the family day care educator that you're relieving?

Sarah:

Yes I do, especially if I'm doing a block of more than one day. But even one day, I will usually have a look. Because children like to have a look at different books. They like to have a look at new things. So usually if it's just a day, I will just bring a couple of new books. I've found they're really enjoying at the moment, Benny Bungara's Big Bush Clean Up.

Jessica:

Yeah, that's a great one on sustainability, isn't it? Yeah.

Sarah:

Yeah, and because also a lot of the animals that are in that book, we have around here, as well. So the children are able to relate it back to things they see, as well. So that's a big favourite at the moment. But I've, yeah. I tend to take a lot of different resources. It depends-

Jessica:

And I think sometimes that helps, doesn't it? Like, to support, if an educator isn't too sure with their own knowledge. To have a good collection of books as a starting point, that you can sort of stand behind and learn alongside the children, can sometimes really assist you.

Sarah:

Yes, and there's so many great books out, as well. The other one that I've found a lot of the children have been loving is, I think it's called, I'm trying to think. I can't think of the title. It's about a baby being born, and the smoking ceremony for the baby.

Jessica:

Oh, Baby Business, by Jasmine Sage.

Sarah:

Yeah, Baby Business.

Jessica:

Yes, that's a beautiful one. We've just got that one in our shop now, as well. It's gorgeous, I love it.

Sarah:

It is. And because a lot of children over both services, and all different educators have not long had baby brothers and sisters. So, I've been taking that book along too, because again, it relates to a lot of the children's lives, and it shows them, they know what their mums and dads, and grandparents and aunties and uncles did when the new baby was born. So it's showing them, well this is also what can be done when a baby is born. And this is how Indigenous people did it, and how they still do it to welcome the baby into the world.

Sarah:

And I've also found music, is a big thing. And especially, because it doesn't take up much space, the Spotify playlist, songs in language, is a great resource to bring, and introduce to children to. And the other educators. And it's great, because you don't have to worry about, am I going to have to censor any of this music? Because there's-

Jessica:

Oh, yeah, the theme or swear words, or whatever.

Sarah:

There's themes in the language and everything. It's all appropriate. There's a huge variety on there. There's music to dance to, there's music that's very relaxing on there as well, and it all features Indigenous language. So that's a great resource, and it doesn't cost anything, as well, which yeah. That can be another thing, is educators will say, well, I can't afford to buy all new resources, and things. So something like the Spotify playlist is a great way to start incorporating Indigenous perspectives.

Jessica:

Absolutely. And I always, I'm a huge advocate for having children's books. But I think if you're part of a scheme, and the scheme can work in a sustainable way, that supports educators financially, that they procure a kit of books, or CDs, or games, or whatever. And then that can be divied out or loaned, whether educators come together at a play session or network meetings. Whatever it may be. And they can borrow out different resources. I've seen a lot of schemes bring in initiatives like that, like a bit of a toy library.

Sarah:

Yes. I know with both Camden and Wollondilly, we have both of them, and they are updated regularly. And both have Australian sort of themed resources you can borrow. But then they have also the Indigenous perspective resources that we can borrow, as well.

Jessica:

And I feel like, talk to your local libraries, and give them a wishlist of the books that you want. Because at the end of the day, libraries want people to be using them, and utilising them, and borrowing books. So if there are books that you're needing to get in, give them a wishlist, and tell them that this is what you're needing and wanting.

Sarah:

Yes, and also again with the music, as well, because libraries tend to have CDs and things to borrow, as well. And so, with the Spotify playlist, it can be, oh, okay. The children really like this artist. I found, I have not found one child that does not love Baker Boy. And you can go to the library and have a look, and see if they've got his CD. And if not, you can suggest to them, could you please buy this for the, to have as a resource. Yeah, so the library's fantastic for that. And they do tend to have a wide variety of books, not just for the kids, but also for adults to read, and to educate themselves as well. And like, on history.

Sarah:

I know our local library has a lot that cover our local history, and I mean, it may not always be pretty, but it's a good thing to have a look at, so that when you're programming and that, you have an idea about what has come before.

Jessica:

Well, that's right. It's pedagogy of place, and having that connectiveness to country that there was, that everyone says, oh, Australia's such a young country, when it's the oldest living country in the world. So knowing what was here first, and what's gone before you I think is important.

Jessica:

And I think that's it, you add pieces to that puzzle all the time, and it's slowly slowly. And having those realistic expectations that it's a process, that it does take time. Particularly if you're a family day care educator, and you haven't got a huge support network around you, that it has to be slow, and sustainable. Like, there's no rush.

Renata:

Well I can honestly say before I did that course in 2016, I don't think I embedded anything authentically. I think it was all, before that, it was all tokenistic. I'm sure of it. Like, without me realising.

Jessica:

Look, I don't think that necessarily it's tokenistic. I think tokenistic means that you're doing it because somebody's telling you that you have to do it, not because you intrinsically understand the importance of it. But I think probably what it is, it's stereotypical, because they're the most common things that we know. Like, the dream time, dot painting-

Renata:

The boomerangs.

Jessica:

Boomerang, bush tucker, it's that surface level approach. But at the same time, stereotypical doesn't always mean that it's bad. You have to start where you're confident, and where you feel comfortable. And then from there, you build, and you develop. And that's what you've done.

Caroline:

Absolutely. So we have in Manly, we have this amazing library with these amazing Indigenous books. And the librarians will read one of those books every story time session. So thank goodness for that as well. We go there twice a week, so it's a pretty special thing.

Jessica:

So I know that you get out into the community a fair bit. Do you do beach kinder, or bush kinder, and take the children out into the country?

Caroline:

We do bush, we do bush kinder. They've got a walkabout risk assessment for me, so I can actually go wherever I want to within reason. So we're not allowed to go near water as such, but I'm allowed to walk along the Promenade, in front of the water, which is so far away from the water it's not funny. But in saying that, we do gather and collect through the bush. WE do have bush experiences. We do do our dancing on the grass, near the bush. Our bush is on a cliff face, so I don't tend to take them up and in, because you can fall off (laughs). So we do have the walkabouts along the water a lot, and embrace our country that way, as well.

Caroline:

And we also do the Manly, we can see the waterfront, and the Manly walk, as well.

Renata:

If any of it's going to be of any use to another family day care educator, I'm rapt. Because it is so hard out there, and we need to sort of empower each other. It's hard, and it's not hard, it's just continuous. That's all. It's just chipping away a little bit by little bit.

Jessica:

I just really wanted to thank our three educators for joining me, and sharing their insights of family day care on this episode. We've never quite done an episode like this before. And your wisdom and knowledge has been invaluable. So thanks very much for all of your advice, and coming on to having a yarn with me today.

Jessica:

Thanks for listening to today's podcast. To find out more information about the Koori Curriculum, and how we can best support you, and your early learning service, visit www.kooricurriculum.com

 

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