Globe Wilkins Preschool in inner west Marrickville is a fantastic example of a preschool that truly values and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. Its commitment can be seen in the many Indigenous programs embedded in its curriculum and its close collaboration with its local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group across a range of initiatives including designing and implementing a pilot Aboriginal language program, creating an Aboriginal cultural framework to guide theory and practice in early childhood settings, and providing educators with opportunities to build on and deepen their understanding and knowledge of local communities, cultural practice, language/groups, creation narratives and ceremonies.
All Globe Wilkins children are encouraged to explore and deepen their understanding about Aboriginal Culture, with particular regard and respect for the local Eora Nation Cadigal-Wangal Peoples & Language. Globe Wilkins also employs an Aboriginal educator who reinforces a sense of cultural identity and provides a strong Aboriginal role model for the many Indigenous kids at the preschool (currently at 13%, the highest number in all inner west council early learning centres).
Unfortunately, Globe Wilkins’ future is under threat. The lease it has held for nearly 20 years on the grounds of Wilkins Public School expires at the end of 2019 and the council has been given notice that it will not renewed, as a result of projected demand for classroom space for Wilkins students, and an apparent lack of willingness from the Department of Education to build additional classrooms for Wilkins students.
The loss of this preschool would be devastating for current and future inner west families, particularly the many Indigenous families, who have found in Globe Wilkins a preschool that truly respects, understands and values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
Nat has two grandchildren currently attending Globe Wilkins, and one who went through before starting primary school. She says she loves the fact that the educators understand and respect of the needs of indigenous families, and that the Koori kids all get to hang out together. She is particularly worried about losing the current site of the preschool, a beautiful natural environment that has been nurtured by the preschool for many years. Nat says, ‘there’s something really special about it. If you’re not Koori you won’t understand, but it’s a spiritual place.’
A newer parent of the Globe community, Jennifer, says:
‘As an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mother, who only recently enrolled my son into Globe Wilkins Preschool, it would be extremely disappointing to see the preschool closed down or relocated. I, personally enrolled my son into Globe Wilkins Preschool due to having a family relative who works at the preschool, it helped bridge the transition into a social setting by ensuring a warm supporting environment for my son. I love the fact that my son's social interactions, growth, behaviour and learning development has improved remarkably. My son loves going to Globe Wilkins Preschool. The preschool is a safe, clean, beautiful centre that caters to individual child's learning developmental needs. I believe early childhood education is key to closing the gap and it would be extremely sad if Globe Wilkins Preschool were to close down.’
Globe Wilkins’ knowledge of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions is well known, and has been the foundation of the development of strong ties with the local Indigenous community. The loss of these important relationships, and the opportunity for future generations of Indigenous children to learn and grow in this exceptional preschool are at risk if Globe’s future is not secured.
Please visit www.saveglobewilkins.com to help protect this amazing preschool. You’ll find links to a template letter to send to your MP, our facebook page, and our online petition (https://www.change.org/p/nsw-department-of-education-save-globe-wilkins). Thank you!!!
Ramona Hewitt, Globe Wilkins parent