At Explore & Develop Lilyfield, reconciliation means recognising, respecting, learning about and celebrating our Indigenous communities’ culture as part of our daily curriculum and we work hard to ensure that our families are able to participate in our learning and be part of our commitment to reconciliation.
By acknowledging reconciliation we are inviting our families to celebrate with us the rich culture and history of the First Australians. With this year’s theme of “Let’s take the Next Steps” it allowed our community to acknowledge two milestones in Australia’s history, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the 25th anniversary of the historic Mabo decision. It also allowed us to share with our families (first-hand) how Explore & Develop Lilyfield embeds an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective as part of our curriculum through acknowledgment to country, cooking, art and literature.
Our Reconciliation morning tea was a carefully planned event involving Jess Sinnott from Koori Kinnections. Jess is a Yuin and Wailwan Aboriginal Educator and has been visiting Explore & Develop Lilyfield for 12 months. Her visits have been an invaluable way for our children and our educators to build their knowledge and understanding, ask questions and plan curriculum experiences. Her visit the day prior focused on bush tucker and creating a celebration feast. This allowed the children to connect with the land and prepare a feast from our garden.
Lilli pilli jam drops, damper, lemon myrtle tea and lilli pilli cordial were prepared by our senior pre-schoolers. This was a hands-on experience as the children de-seeded and peeled the lilli pillies which was then placed onto the stove top and stewed into a jelly for the jam drops. The biscuit batter was carefully prepared as well. Damper was also prepared, with the children selecting a mix of bush-tucker jams to accompany the celebration. These included Quandong jam, Wild Lime marmalade, Passionberry and Fig jam.
The lemon myrtle tea was created by our children crushing the leaves and soaking them in hot-water overnight. They were then strained as refreshing beverage and served. Our Possum pre-schoolers were also actively involved in the food preparation for our event, making a yummy bush tomato soup.
As part of our morning tea, the Wombat pre-schoolers shared with our families their acknowledgment to country. This connection to country is part of our daily curriculum where we acknowledge the indigenous custodians of this land, the Wangal people of the Eora nation and pay our respects to elders, past, present and future. We acknowledge the spirits of the Wangal land and the children of the Wangal land. Together we can touch the ground of the Wangal land. We can reach for the sky of the Wangal land and we can touch our hearts for the care of the Wangal land.
We were fortunate to also share some local Aboriginal artwork throughout Reconciliation week. Myangah (Sea Eagle) Pirate, TRANBY’s Artist in Residence kindly loaned us his beautiful wood burning artwork “Mother Earth”. Our connection to culture is often referenced throughout art and is was a wonderful opportunity to showcase another form of artwork and engage the children on further learning. Our children were also quick to link the decorative “wood-burning technique” to our clapping sticks and other musical instruments.
Our Reconciliation morning tea was a wonderful celebration. Our centre parents valued the invitation to participate in our Reconciliation week activities. They thoroughly enjoyed our bush tucker food, the learning opportunity and the coming together as a community. It reaffirmed our commitment to recognising, respecting, learning and celebrating our Indigenous communities culture and it also reaffirmed our commitment to engaging the hands, hearts and minds of our families so that together we can actively “Take the Next Step.”