At Explore & Develop Annandale we believe in embedding the principles of equality, respect and kindness throughout all our programs. This year in the lead up to Reconciliation Week we were introduced the book Say Yes by Jennifer Castles by Jessica Staines.
A few years ago when we really commenced our journey to learn more about indigenous perspectives we realised as a group of educators that we needed to be curious and educate ourselves, so we have been and we continue to add more knowledge to our team in order to pass knowledge to the children in our care.
In the week leading up to Reconciliation Week we read it as a group at a Team Meeting. The beauty of this book is the beautiful story of two young girls is accompanied by illustrations including newspaper clippings and passages of legislation about the referendum. These illustrations can be read by the older reader or left when reading to young children.
We read the book with our preschool children, below is the documentation of their story.
Reconciliation week this year is special because its marks the fiftieth Anniversary of the 1967 referendum that asked Australians if Aboriginal people should be counted as citizens in the census.
‘Say Yes’ is the true story of the 1967 Referendum told through the eyes of two young girls who want nothing more than to be friends with the same rights. They want to go to the movies, swim in the pool and attend school together.
The children responded with their usual indignation, relating their understanding of what it means to be kind. They also applied their understanding of ‘voting’, knowing that more people must have “put their hand up” for a yes vote. At the end of the story the children were happy that the vote for yes won and the girls could go to the movies, the pool and school together.
When the story was finished Javier shot his hand up and declared, “If I was a ticket person I would say yes you could sit there!”
Will added, “And I would do that too!” and Matilda said “Everybody can do that because Possums are kind!”
Claudia remarked, “I love that story.” , which was joined by many Possums saying “Me too!”
This book sparked more conversation about what rights mean (in a child appropriate manner) and was revisited over reconciliation week, reinforcing the children’s understanding of kindness and fairness.
Later in the afternoon I noted that the new lizard’s name still hasn’t been decided on. Olivia suggested we have a vote…
A parent’s perspective….
“Thank you so much for introducing the children to ‘Say Yes’. I have just read the post and now know where the conversation about voting, saying yes and the before and after scenes M chatted about in the car and over dinner. Fantastic not only to better understand the journey of Indigenous people in Australia but such an important message for the children understanding about equality regardless of heritage, place, skin, gender, etc. Thank you!”.
Thanks Su for sharing your story. Jess x