Each morning the Kelly’s place community raise the aboriginal flag and sing an acknowledgement of country. This ritual, observed by all groups, has created a close relationship with the Aboriginal flag and the Cammeraygal land, on which Kelly’s Place stands.
Through researching the flag, its meaning, connection to the Aboriginal people and the creator Harold Thomas, the children discovered that June 12th marked 47 years since the flag was first flown. The flag is represented strongly in the children’s discussions, art and play and when one child suggested having a party to celebrate the Aboriginal flags birthday; it didn’t take long for the notion to create a mild party planning frenzy amongst the children.
The children’s respect and acknowledgement of the flag has moved beyond the walls of Kelly’s place, spreading to the families and community. As one family proudly shared that on a weekend trip into the city their 4yr old exclaimed while looking at the Harbour Bridge “They only have the Australian Flag. Their flag should be there. It’s their land”.
Kelly’s place educators had been discussing for several weeks, ways in which to celebrate NAIDOC along with the flag and its power and the idea of having a party for the very symbol of the Aboriginal community, seemed incredibly apt. We also felt strongly about installing an additional two flagpoles in our yard meaning, for the first time, all three flags could be flown simultaneously.
The day, 12 July 2018, began, as any good party should, with dress ups. It was decided by the children that the theme of the day would be red, black, yellow, blue, green and white, for as one child declared ‘That’s the colours for all the flags’ (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island). Matching decorations were sourced and the children began decorating their yard. Children would alternate from making fairy bread (of course) and decorating individually made cupcakes, to taking to the yard with streamers, party hats and fabric. Soon enough, they had a yard ready for a party.
Recent explorations into cooking, fire and fire safety meant we were now able to inaugurate our brand new fire pit. Weeks of preparation had gone into the fire pit – conversations with the children focussed around creating the space, fire safety, cooking with fire, respecting fire and fire agreements. This space created a yarning circle where we could reflect on the identity of the flag, and both aboriginal people and ourselves. This also created an opportunity to visit this year’s theme of ‘Because Of Her We Can’ and paved the way for a deeper more embedded discussion in the coming weeks.
Prior to beginning lunch we gathered on our stage situated in front of our now three flagpoles and together raised our countries flags while as a group we sang our acknowledgement of country. At Kelly’s Place we have a unique song that we sing to celebrate birthdays. The children felt the flag should be of no exception, and so we sang our special song. Then we ate. We ate, we ate, we ate. We shared the sun, we shared our stories and we shared the time together, as a community.
Just as the celebrations were winding up, several of the children and staff mounted a sign at the entrance to our centre. Kelly’s Place recently turned 30 and to acknowledge and thank the Cammeraygal people, we decided to advocate and educate by placing a plaque at our front door.
We are all enormously proud of the children for such a genuine connection to the spirit of reconciliation and move forward together with excitement at what’s to come.
Kelly’s Place Staff.