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Educator Yarns Season 2 Episode 13: Interview with Anne Marie

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In this episode of Educator Yarns, Jess speaks with Anne Marie about her career in Early Childhood and the importance of building relationships when embedding Aboriginal perspectives in curriculums.

Anne Marie considers her career and how through relationships she came to understand and respond to the importance of ethical decision making. She discusses her efforts in the support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business and ethical procurement practices.

Show Notes

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Being able to then include those things in the programme, and have the knowledge behind me, you chose to include it in your curriculum, some people actually questioned why you were doing that.

Jessica Stains:

Having that diversity of different experiences that continue to shape your practise.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Got to make a relationship with someone, and that can take a very long time. There's no point doing all this other stuff if you don't know the history and the background.

Speaker 3:

You're listening to the Koori Curriculum Educator Yarns, with Jessica Stains.

Jessica Stains:

Hi everyone, my name's Jessica Stains, director of the Koori Curriculum. For those of you that aren't familiar with our podcast, season two is all about our new book Educator Yarns. We're meeting and interviewing with our educator contributors from right around Australia, who will be sharing little snippets of their piece. It'll be a combination of stories about why embedding Aboriginal perspectives is so important, how to connect with local community, how to embed Aboriginal perspectives in our programme, how to work with anti bias approaches, and so much more. Make sure you listen in and enjoy the episode. Bye for now.

            In this episode of Educator Yarns, I'm meeting with Anne Marie, and we'll be yarning about some of the influential relationships that she has built over her career as an early childhood educator, that have helped support the embedding of Aboriginal perspectives in her team's programme.

            Thanks so much Anne Marie for joining us today. When I read your story, I think there's so much of that that I could really relate to, the journey that you've been on from where you started and to where you are now. There were lots of different, I don't know, aspects of your journey that we could talk about, but, the thing that really struck me was the meaningful relationships that you've established with different Aboriginal leaders and cultural knowledge holders throughout your journey, that I think has really shaped your pedagogy and practise. But I thought, before we jump in, if you could just give us a brief little intro of who you are and the context in which you're currently teaching?

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Sure. I'm Anne Marie Parkinson, and I'm a kindergarten teacher. I've been teaching for over 25 years, which actually sounds like a really long time when you say that. I went to University of Melbourne, and I'd grown up in the country, so that was a big change, moving to the city. I went back to the country after I graduated and I taught in the country for a couple of years. Then I moved back to Melbourne with my partner, who's now my husband, and I've taught inner city, outer city, all sorts of different areas, and I'm currently teaching inner service, which is in the western suburbs, almost inner city, and a really interesting demographic. It's really multicultural, we've got lots of families that are newly arrived to Australia, also, we've got multi generational families living in the one house that attend as well. We've also got people that have attended our service over many years with different family members, people that are new to the service as well.

            It's a really interesting place to work. The previous place I worked before then, it was quite, mainly white Australian people attending, so it's been a very, very different experience for me, but something I've really enjoyed the challenge of. That's [inaudible 00:04:15] I am at the moment.

Jessica Stains:

25 years is a lifetime, in fact, of working in early childhood. You're one of those teachers that has been working in our professional since before the early years learning framework and the NQS and all of those things that we have now. How would you say Aboriginal perspectives in early childhood has changed since you began working in our profession to now?

Anne Marie Parkinson:

I think there's been a huge shift, actually. When I first started teaching, there wasn't much information. It wasn't included, if you chose to include it in your curriculum, some people actually questioned why you were doing that. I certainly, I don't believe I was taught anything at university about it at all. I know my education prior to that, there was a couple of token little things, but it was all about Aboriginal people from many years ago, living traditionally, certainly not in a context of, we all live in houses and we all go to the shops to buy food, it was completely different.

            I didn't have anywhere to go to if I wanted to include that, but it was something that I felt strongly about, and I also was very aware I didn't have much knowledge at all. I had to really do some research and reach out to people, and I tried to read things and I tried to find if there was any professional development, and gradually, that started to happen. Some of the things were great, some of the things were obviously, you can look back and realise, not appropriate at all. But I just kept persisting because I felt it was important. Gradually, then, there were career field offices that were included within the Department of Education, so that was great because they were a connection point, and they can help link you to other people and link you to resources.

            I think sometimes it's almost the opposite in some ways, there's so many resources out there that you've got to make sure they're authentic as well, and that's really important, and that's something that I've worked very hard with my current team, because people weren't aware, cause they're very excited to be on the journey with me, which is wonderful, because this particular service, when I started there, you would not realise that there were any other cultures, actually, based on the equipment and the resources that were there.

            I guess you could look at that as a negative, or you could look at it as a really great opportunity then to resource with things that are meaningful and actually good to have within the service. That's how I've looked at it, and tried to get some beautiful things to include within the programme and also to use as provocations and also to support the families and the educators. Those things about, is that material from spotlight, is that actually authentic or is that somebody that's just printed it, or that doll we found, is that actually appropriate or not? This story, was that actually written by an Aboriginal person or not? Those sort of questions that now, that happens straight away, any time one of my educators discovers something, that's one of the first questions I'll ask to establish that, which I think is really important.

Jessica Stains:

Yeah, I think procurement is something that we're slowly getting better at, as a profession, and there are so many different layers of the ethics around procurement. For me, personally, I'll always support Aboriginal businesses first, that are Aboriginal owned and operated, because I think this aligns with my beliefs about self determination and building people's capacity to run their own businesses and support their families directly and intentionally.

            That's my personal preference. And then, I think that there is space for non-indigenous companies to sell Aboriginal resources or to collaborate. But there are some that do that with integrity and with a great deal of respect, and there are others that are trying to capitalise and profit from a culture that isn't theirs. Do you have any tips to educators of how they can work out the good from the not so good?

Anne Marie Parkinson:

I think one thing I've found is actually being brave and asking a question. Often I'll see things that are advertised on Facebook or social media, sometimes on educator sites. At the moment, the little wooden people, there's lots and lots of different people that are selling those with indigenous patterns and things on them, or painting. I actually did ask a girl who was selling those, "Are you actually Aboriginal?" And it took her a very long time to reply, which I found interesting. She said that she was, but obviously asking the question, because I think sometimes educators see something and think, "Oh, that looks cool, I might make one," without realising that maybe that's not the best way to go. Things like rocks that have got symbols on them and things like that.

            I think, finding that out, you can look up the companies as well, so the internet's amazing for finding out information. Actually getting an idea of the background of people, I find a lot of Aboriginal and [inaudible 00:10:05] companies these days, because they're proud of their company and themselves, they will tell you where they're located, where they're from, their connections as well. That also helps. And I guess, if they're made in Australia or not, because sometimes you'll find things that are actually made offshore. There's a lot of stuff that comes from Bali that gets passed off as Aboriginal things. Also, I know that there's some things that have been made in some other Asian countries as well. Having a look on the tag and seeing where they're actually made, that helps as well, I think.

Jessica Stains:

Yeah, 100%, and I think at the moment there's so many of us that are flocking to online shopping, and some people are online shopping and in that virtual marketplace for the very first time. I know with a lot of websites, the phrases that they use, particularly non-indigenous companies, I think can be a little bit misleading. They are often not transparent. Whereas, you find Aboriginal businesses and companies, that's a huge part of their brand story, so they're pretty up front to say, "We're [inaudible 00:11:16] and this is where we live and this is our connection and this is the story behind our range." When that's not there, I already kind of begin assuming that they're a non-indigenous company.

            But for me, with the non-indigenous companies that are ethical, most of the time they're part of the Aboriginal Arts Associations or the Indigenous Arts Code, and they talk really openly about their collaboration, because then we know that they're paying ethical royalties and that sort of thing. A lot of Aboriginal businesses, likewise, they're part of Trading Black or Supply Nations, so we see that.

            Some of the resources that are made overseas, I had a big chat with Kyle Watt last season, who is on the board for Trading Black. And it's [inaudible 00:12:10] who was one of the Aboriginal early childhood consultants that you mentioned in your [inaudible 00:12:17] sister, she has a beautiful range of felt [crosstalk 00:12:23] Australian animals.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

[crosstalk 00:12:24] talk about that, yes.

Jessica Stains:

Yeah, and she gets them made through fair trade in Nepal. But she's designed them. She's the artist, but they're being manufactured overseas, so they're not hand made by her. But it's still her business, it's still her designs, it's still, so to me, she's the one that's profiting from her culture, do you know what I mean? There's nobody else that's profiting from that except for Ines.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Correct, and she's up front about it as well.

Jessica Stains:

Absolutely.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

She's explaining how it's happened. So again, like you said, explain the story behind it.

Jessica Stains:

Yeah, and she goes over to Nepal often and visits with the artisans that are making her resources, and she has a lot of input into that process. To me, are those resources still authentic? Yeah, they definitely are.

            That's an example. I know myself, we have some Aboriginal art centres that we support, and they have tea towels and cushion covers and that sort of thing. Even some of our authors in Aboriginal publishing houses that we support, some of their books are printed overseas, some of their textiles are made overseas, but they're still Aboriginal owned businesses that have to manufacture overseas.

            That's why I say to people, it's not just whether or not it's made in China, you still have to look to see more, but I know what you're saying, and I love Australian made products, for other reasons as well. But it's not so straight forward for educators sometimes.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

It's not, you're right. Because yeah, absolutely, the textiles might be printed overseas, but then they still acknowledge who the artist was and who designed it. That's the big difference between that and picking up a wooden artefact that's been, when you're overseas on holidays in Bali and it's got dot painting all over it or something like that. Obviously if someone's importing those kinds of items, that's a very different thing. I guess that's probably what I was thinking about when I said that.

Jessica Stains:

I agree, and we see those a lot in Sydney, at Patty's Markets and in [inaudible 00:14:41] shops and the hot dollar shops and so forth. People can buy tea towels and fabrics and little boomerangs and whatnot and they think, "Oh this is great, look how cheap it is, I can buy 50 of these," or what have you.

            But it's the ethics behind it, and this is what I say to people about, not just from an Aboriginal perspective in terms of supporting Aboriginal businesses, but through an environmental perspective. I don't know, humanity in general is so, there's a lot of educators that love shopping at K Mart, but, there's somebody, because we can get cheap bargains at K Mart, there's no denying that, but there's somebody at the end of that product that is being exploited.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Absolutely.

Jessica Stains:

And at the same time, there's so much on Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace or [inaudible 00:15:39] and Vinny's, that is just going to landfill, because it's, I don't know. There's a documentary that I watched a while ago, it was called The Story of Stuff, and I think it really changed the way that I think and view things like the ethics more holistically, other than just, is this an Aboriginal owned business that's making it?

            Anyway, that's besides the point. But as we were already talking about, Annette, I thought I'd ask you if you could just name some of the key Aboriginal people that have supported you on your journey and who they are and the role that they played in building your cultural capacity and understanding?

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Sure. [inaudible 00:16:29], you've already mentioned, I met her quite a few years ago, originally at a professional development that was run by [inaudible 00:16:37] council. She was teaching head and shoulders knees and toes in her language, and so "moom" means bum, so that's one of the first things that [inaudible 00:16:49]. But I started to talk to her afterwards, I stayed back and had a quick chat and said "Look, this is what I'm trying to do, and I'm trying to make some connections, have you got any ideas, is there anywhere you could point me?" And she said, "Well actually," cause obviously her business hadn't been around as long then, so she said, "I'm actually starting to do storytelling and different things like that."

            I got her to come out to my kindergarten then and she does some beautiful storytelling, she's got wooden, they're like tree trunks, and she's made little holes in them so you can put fresh gum leaves in them, and she has little puppets and she tells the story. It's [inaudible 00:17:34] and she's got a, it's actually, I wonder if she's converted it, it was a tape back then, but it was actually Auntie [inaudible 00:17:41] telling the story of them looking for possums in the trees and they're scratching on the trees. She came out and shared that with the children, which was wonderful, and I just kept asking questions and she said "Feel free to call me," probably not realising that I would do it a lot, but I did, and we kept connecting in that way.

            And then she helped me to select some things that would be helpful within the programme to add as resources. Since then, she's connected with my early years management as well, because they're developing a rap now, so I've had a rap at my service for a number of years, but my earliest management didn't have an overall one. She's actually part of that team as well now, but previous to that she did some professional development with the whole, lots and lots and lots of different kinders with different kinder teachers there and things within my early years management.

            I've just learnt lots of interesting things like games that you can play with the children that were actually originally hunting games. One she taught with scratched up newspaper, and aiming at something that was moving between people, was actually a hunting game, we're learning how to hunt ducks. Just those sort of things. So being able to then include those things in the programme and have the knowledge behind me, so that when I'm talking about it I know I'm giving correct information, it's authentic.

            She's been wonderful and she's got lots of beautiful resources, and she's always really willing to answer questions, and you can ask her questions and know that she's not going to go, "Oh, why are you asking that?" That's always been something that I've found really helpful as well. That would be one person. Monty Prior, that's probably someone that I feel blessed to have in my life, actually. He's Boori, he's also called. I met him, I just booked him to come to my kinder one day to do some work with my children there, and he was just so inspiring, and he's so kind and generous with his time. He sat and chatted to me, and we really connected, so I think I would definitely say he is a mentor to me. Last year [crosstalk 00:20:17] oh sorry, yeah?

Jessica Stains:

Did he write the book Shake a Leg?

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Yes, that's him.

Jessica Stains:

Yeah, I thought so.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Yeah, that's him.

Jessica Stains:

An educator asked me the other day, the children are interested in pizza, what do you think the Aboriginal perspective of that could be? And I said "Shake a Leg!" Like the book. And they were like "Oh my gosh, there really is an Aboriginal perspective or link for everything." I said, "Yeah, there is." So yeah, it's a great book. Yeah, sorry.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

[inaudible 00:20:43].

            He just talks to me and shares things and, yeah, he's just been really, really wonderful in supporting my team as well as myself. We've got school readiness funding in Victoria now, and my centre based on, I guess, the demographic and the socioeconomic background of a lot of our families, we were actually in the first rollout. We were trailblazers or guinea pigs, depending on how you want to look at it. It was all new to us, and you had the capacity if you wanted to, to have things that weren't on the menu because, they had a menu of items you could pick, so I thought, well, I'm going to try and see what happens. So I asked if we could use some of that funding for Monty to come to the kinder and mentor my team, and we were successful, which was wonderful. So we had him coming throughout a whole year, and we were able to have lots and lots of meaningful discussions and he shared stories from his background as well. He got us to watch particular clips and movies and different things, and then we'd discuss it afterwards and read certain texts.

            Some of my team come from Vietnam originally, and I've got Filipino educators, Chinese educators, people that identify as whit Australians, I've got somebody that's half [inaudible 00:22:16] half Australian as well. We're quite different backgrounds that we're all coming from as well. What I found really interesting was when he was sharing a story about his aunties on the mission, up in Queensland, some pretty horrific things that happened, and the girls from Vietnam were just shocked, because they said, "But Australia's not a third world country, and this is not hundreds of years ago, these people are still alive." And I thought that had so much impact and got everybody thinking about many, many things.

            He said there's no point doing all this other stuff if you don't know the history and the background. He shared a lot of that and he gave a lot of himself, which, as I said before, I just feel blessed that I've had that opportunity to have that experience and share that with my team. And then also, trying to take away that fear. He was saying, "It's not about sharing my culture, it's about sharing your culture as well, we need to all share our cultures and all come together, because we're all people." All of a sudden, some of my co-educators who had been a little bit shy about that were like, "Oh," and they started doing some amazing things and there was research into the seasons in Victoria and sharing that with the children and including things within the programme as part of our programme, so not going, "All right, well this week's coming up, so we better start getting these puzzles out." It's just something that's constantly there, within part of our programme, as well as everything else that we do, and often linking it was sustainability as well.

            Now that we're all in lockdown, it's interesting as well, because Monty's doing lots and lots of writing cause he can't do much else. I've been lucky enough that he's been sending me draughts of poems and books and stuff that he's working on at the moment.

Jessica Stains:

So cool.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Yeah, so that's been lovely as well. He's forward planning cause he's saying, "What we did was great, I've never shared those sort of things before, how can I start doing that with other services?" I've actually had kinder teachers bringing me, cause he said, "Oh, can I give your number to this person or that," and I've had a lady from a school ring me as well, from over in Ringwood on the other side of the city. That's been great as well cause it's connecting with people that I would never have connected with otherwise. He found me somebody local as well that, [inaudible 00:24:53] person that was happy to speak to me and see if we were a good fit with each other to connect with the kinder.

            That was amazing, because often it's really difficult to make connections, cause I don't live where I work if that makes sense, so it's not my local community. These things take time, and I think that's a really key thing to remember, you can't just ring somebody up and say, "Hi, I want you to be my friend now and come down to the kinder." It doesn't work that way, you've got to make a relationship with someone, and that can take a very long time.

Jessica Stains:

And I think the thing is that it's multiple relationships and it's multiple voices, and having that diversity of different experiences that continue to shape your practise as you evolve in educators and your evolving confidence in this space as well. And that's why I think it's very different, early childhood and even us Aboriginal early childhood consultants, is that, we're generally not competitive with one another in this space because we all end up working with many of the same services, because we all have different views, different strategies, different strengths, different approaches, that none of us do the same thing. But it's more by engaging with different cultural knowledge holders and custodians and consultants over a period of time. We all have different things to contribute that shape educators, pedagogy, and practise.

            I know that Annette and Monty, the way that they work, is quite different. They have a very, they might have some similar shared experiences as first nation's peoples, but what they have to offer a team is unique and beneficial in its own right. I know you also had, do you call them caseload workers?

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Yes, you're talking about Janelle?

Jessica Stains:

Janelle, yeah, I know that you also engaged with her.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Jessica Stains:

How was she different to Annette and Monty?

Anne Marie Parkinson:

She actually came out for a staff meeting with us originally, which was an idea I had, I said, "Can you do this?" And she said okay. Cause I was thinking more about being able to have all my team together, because obviously back then when we were in lockdown, we're not always at the service at the same time. That was my thinking, and I asked her if she would like to come and speak to my team about things that she thinks probably important to be including in our programme. She arrived and she had this big folder of stuff and she had a suitcase full of items.

            She talked from a, I guess there was a different perspective because she's employed by the Department of Education. There is that slant on it as well. She was talking about the nitty gritty of programming, I guess, whereas, I suppose Monty and Annette, it's more about, you could do this or you could do that, whereas she was talking about linking to outcomes and things like that as well. Yeah, that was a different perspective.

            She was also really, she's a very quiet and soft spoken lady, and she did tell me afterwards that she's actually quite a shy person and she finds coming to new services really, really daunting. Which didn't come across at all, but I said to her, "Well thank you for sharing that with me, and I hope that our team was okay to work with." And she said, "Oh no, no, it was fine," but she said she just never knows what's she's going to find when she goes into a new service, and she did share a story that the department was offering free pay days for schools, so she had to go to lots of different local schools, and she said she was familiar with that area because of a local school nearby, and they had basically said, "We're not interested, we don't want to know, we've already planned out all our pay days for the year," and she said that made her feel terrible. I just thought, wow, I was blown away, because it wouldn't even occur to me that if someone was reaching out and wanting to [inaudible 00:29:22].

Jessica Stains:

That's just crazy, isn't it? There's so many educators that are hitting their head up against the wall trying desperately to find community connections, and here's somebody on your doorstep saying "I'm here!" They're like, "I'm not interested! Thanks but no thanks" What?

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Yeah, that really blew me away. Lots of resources, and I guess more things like, cause we don't really use worksheets at my kinder, that's to do with our curriculum philosophy and things like that. More guided, I guess, if you're going to do this, you're probably gonna need this, this, and this, and you could include sustainability, or you could look at it from a [inaudible 00:30:04] perspective or things like that. Yeah, more programming based, but still very, very helpful.

Jessica Stains:

And I think this is it, is that people can see Aboriginal programmes, and sometimes they don't do this deliberately but it ends up being tacked on and separate, but really understanding how this is part of the oath, it is part of your [inaudible 00:30:25], it is in the NQS, and it is in the code of ethics. It's not something that's entirely separate at all, and how these things work together.

            And this is what I mean, there's space for all of these perspectives and points of view from different cultural knowledge holders. There's a few things I think that are really important, just to clarify, connecting with community, is that it does take time to build those relationships and find those connections. It's important to work out who is who, and what it is that you're really wanting for your team to work at if ... who is the best fit for you and what they're trying to offer? Because we're not generalists, we all do different things. Doing some research on different providers out there, and really being clear on the outcomes that you're hoping to achieve for your team is important. And then finding a budget in your, whether it's through grants and funding, or having a budgeted item to be able to pay people for their time, is also really important as well. There's a few things to be mindful of when connecting with community, to make sure that you're doing it in a respectful way, I guess.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Absolutely, yeah. I think that's something that my early years management had learned as well with our rap, because it invited quite a few people to be a part of it, and then people didn't want to be part of it, and those that weren't sure why, and it was explaining that, if you're cold calling somebody, that doesn't necessarily mean that they are going to have that connection with you straight away. It's really important to get to know each other, and yeah, see what you're wanting and what they're wanting, whether they align or not.

            And also, just little things like offering to pick somebody up and bring them to the meeting or something like that so that, because not everybody has transport or, there's lots of different things that come into it as well. Just being mindful of everyone else's situations, too, I guess. That was an interesting learning, I think, that came from that.

Jessica Stains:

Yeah, and I think as well, something that I've learnt, and it's not something that I generally talk about, but when I started doing consulting work and going out and visiting services, the majority of services were great and they were really welcoming, they tell you "Come sit down here, and would you like a cup of tea?" They were really lovely. But there were some educators at services, first impressions really do count, and [crosstalk 00:33:17] they could barely look at me, they wouldn't say hello, they didn't ask if I needed any help, they just said, "Oh go down there, it's the last room on the left." They just, the beginning of the workshop they say, "You can get started whenever you like." There was no introduction, it was just real, it felt dirty. I didn't like it at all, it was terrible. It had me questioning for a while whether or not I wanted to continue doing it.

            And then these same services, they'd ring me the next year to come back out and do something else and I'd just say "No thanks." [crosstalk 00:33:50] I'm not wiling to go back, because I feel like, while I'm getting paid for a service, I don't want to share my culture with people that don't appreciate it or me, because [crosstalk 00:34:04] it's not just some transaction that if you pay me then I'm going to, I felt really uncomfortable about it. But with a lot our community, and it would be so funny, sometimes I would be there giving them workshops on how to connect and development relationships with community, it took everything in me not to say, "Well let's review how I was welcomed into your service today." Because if that had happened with one of our elders or someone like my dad, they would feel so uncomfortable, I think they would leave. I don't think that they would persevere with it at all.

            Sometimes, I know that our days as educators can be really hectic, and I also know that the centres that I've been to that I've had those terrible experiences, they're the minority, they're definitely not the majority. But when educators talk to me about, it was just ironic that I was there to talk to them about how to develop connection with community, and it was just like, well, it's just about being warm and inviting.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Yeah, I think that's what Janelle was probably alluding to as well, when she's going into new places. Because obviously she hasn't always had the same reception.

Jessica Stains:

That's right [crosstalk 00:35:25] and it does give people anxiety, and I think, to understand that for a lot of Aboriginal people, there is that mistrust towards mainstream institutions like schools, so they're already anticipating sometimes that it's going to be not great. We all have different dispositions towards environments that we're going into I guess, but it [crosstalk 00:35:50] ...

Anne Marie Parkinson:

You're giving very personal things too, it's not like you're going in and teaching wood work and you're going in and "Okay, today we're all going to learn how to change a tyre," or whatever the lesson is. You're actually sharing your personal journey, you're sharing your culture, that's a very different thing. And it makes me wonder sometimes, when that happens to somebody, is that because the service is ticking a box, because they're supposed to be including this within their programme, rather than genuinely wanting somebody to be there? Cause like you said, the irony of them learning how to connect with you, when they couldn't even be bothered walking you down to the room and saying, "Oh, everyone, Jessica's here now," [inaudible 00:36:32].

Jessica Stains:

Yeah. You just sort of sit there and you're like, really?

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Yeah.

Jessica Stains:

It is, you're exactly right, some of the stories are very vulnerable stories, and at the beginning of the year I did a series of planning days with Red for the Aboriginal Early Childhood Collective, and I shared some really sensitive stories about my dad and his childhood growing up, and it gets hard to tell those stories repeatedly within a short period of time, but it is very vulnerable, and then, with some services or educators, when you get that feeling when you come in, you think, "I don't want to share this piece of myself or my family with you at all." That's not ...

            Anyway, like I said, it's this small amount of cases that that has happened to me over the six years that I've had Koori Curriculum, but the memories of that do, I still recall the feeling of it because it was such an icky, yuck, way to feel.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Yeah, of course.

            Understandable. I know I can be quite a private person in some ways about my family things too, so I can imagine going somewhere that I don't know anybody, and then having to reveal all that stuff. Because you feel like, I'm providing this service today, that would be a shocking feeling, it would be horrible.

Jessica Stains:

Yeah. But I think, it's so valuable to have stories like yours included in Educator Yarns that show, these are the many relationships that we've had over time at our service, and all of these people, in their own right, have contributed unique aspects to our cultural growth and our understanding, and these are some of the ways that we've developed those relationships in a respectful, authentic manner. And it comes across so strongly how much you just, cherishing and so grateful for the experiences that you've had with these people, [crosstalk 00:38:48] that gratitude is there, and there's so many things about your journey that I think we could talk about, curriculum and reconciliation and so forth.

            And like we already said at the beginning, I'm like, "Oh, it'll just be a little 10 minute yarn." It's 45 minutes later, we're still, we went down the rabbit hole big time, Anne Marie. But thank you so much for joining me and having a yarn and contributing to our book and sharing your story, cause I know for so many educators it can be quite daunting to put themselves out there. And I think you're doing an amazing job, so thank you so much.

Anne Marie Parkinson:

Thank you, I really appreciate the opportunity to contribute any part of it. It's something I've actually really enjoyed doing, cause it's something a little bit different, I guess, for me, writing these things down for you. And certainly, speaking with you today, that's a new thing for me too. It's been a really great opportunity.

Jessica Stains:

Thank you so much.

            I hope that you enjoyed this episode and had a great little sneak peek between the pages of our new book Educator Yarns. If you'd like to ask questions or connect with me, best to join our Facebook group, The Koori Curriculum Educator Community, which is free for all of our listeners and members.

            On our next episode of Educator Yarns, we're meeting with Eliza, an educator from [inaudible 00:40:13] Country, who works with three year olds, and she'll be sharing all the ways that we can include Aboriginal perspectives for birth to threes.

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