One of the things that I love the most about my job is that I regularly get the chance to get out of Sydney and explore different parts of Australia. I enjoy visiting regional early learning services and learning about the variety of ways Aboriginal perspectives can be embedded into early childhood curriculums. 

We ended last week in beautiful Albury where we visited the early learning and OOSHC Educators that are part of Albury City Council to deliver our workshop "Embedding Aboriginal Perspectives in Early Childhood Curriculums". Brendon and I loved yarning with the teams and learning about some of their innovative sustainability and out of the gate programs.

When our time in Albury came to an end we headed off along the old dry dusty highway on route to Armidale. First stop Dubbo!

I couldn't go past the opportunity to visit Taronga Western Plains Zoo. Brendon and I have recently become frequent zoo visitors ever since I began caring for my two year old niece on a Monday. You can often find us bustling up and down the hills of Sydney's Zoo pushing a pram and brushing shoulders with bus loads of tourists.

However, this was indeed a very different zoo experience. We arrived early and with ease drove slowly around the zoo, feeling like we were virtually on our own. 

As it turned out my leopard onesie (the perfect zoo outfit if I do say so myself) was a raging success and magnet for the lions. The four boys all took turns walking up and pouncing on the glass.

Before we left Dubbo we had one final stop at the Macquarie River. Wiradjuri people are known as the people of the three rivers: the Wambool (Macquarie River), the Kalari (the Lachlan River) and the Murrumbidjeri (the Murrumbidgee River).

The next stop on our journey was Bellata. We drove along this road (see pic above) for three hours. We passed two cars and a herd of mountain goats. Definitely different from the traffic conditions that I've become accustomed to.

On the highway from Narrabri to Bellata we came across some of the driest drought stricken farms that we've experienced. There was nothing but dust and dry dirt as far as the eye could see. 

We called in to visit a few of our friends who took us out to one of the locals favourite hangouts, a Bore Bath in the middle of a 1000 acre property. The water found in the bore bath comes from the Great Artesian Basin and is approximately two million years old. Natural pressure sends the water to the surface through an artesian bore and it maintains a temperature of between 40-50 degrees celcius.

Next stop for us was Guyra to visit more family and friends. We headed down a winding country road, eventually the dry pastures started appearing slightly greener. We came across a few hundred head of cattle grazing along the side of the road accompanied by a couple of young loyal pups working hard to keep them in line and out of trouble.

We arrived in Armidale a few days before our workshop and grabbed at the chance to relax and unwind. I also took the opportunity to visit the local Aboriginal Keeping Place.

The Keeping Place had a few Aboriginal Art exhibitions on display, however my absolute favourite piece was the NAIDOC 2018 Quilt. The quilt was created to commemorate NAIDOC 2018. The theme, "Because of her, we can" highlights the importance of the maternal influence on the lives of everyone in the family and community.

A blank calico square was given to members of Armidale's Aboriginal community, to women who have used the Karrali Service and to health professionals who provide collaborative care for women and families to illustrate their story. 

After viewing some of the artworks I went for a stroll through The Keeping Place Bush Tucker Garden. Can you identify all the plants in the picture?

We did eventually of course make it to the beautiful Armidale Preschool. We had a great time meeting the educators from Armidale Family Day Care, Yarm Gwanga, Galloway, Minimbah, Little Bear, Goodstart Tamworth, Armidale Preschool and Lil Achievers Gunnedah.

I was blown away by the generous amount of outdoor space that the educators and children had to play with and explore. Anyone that knows me knows that I love a good fire and this fire pit won my heart!

Armidale Preschool has done an amazing job of including Aboriginal culture in their outdoor space. I loved that this was evidently a whole team approach and all educators had been getting involved. 

Thank you so much for having me Armidale Preschool! I cant wait to return and follow you on your journey.
Love, Jess and Brendon x