When I was a practicing classroom teacher it was no secret that my parents spare bedroom had quickly become a treasure trove, the equivalent of Aladdin’s cave filled with early childhood resources for every theme, interest or occasion. Searching and collecting books and thrift store items on the weekend that complimented my classes current topic of inquiry had become a whole family affair. However, when it came to finding resources to support the sharing of my culture with children that were authentic and that didn’t cost an arm and a leg it was slim pickings.
The majority of my time as a practicing teacher was spent working in mainstream early learning services with primarily non-indigenous children. As a young educator knowing about my culture and knowing how to transfer that into an early learning context were two very separate things. I wasn’t confident in my identity culturally or in my practice as a new teacher and relied heavily on resources such as Aboriginal books and CD’s whilst my confidence grew and blossomed.
When I was in my early 20’s I became a kinship carer for a period of time. Suddenly my want for culturally inclusive resources became a need. I wanted to ensure that both personally and professionally I had culturally inclusive resources that created a sense of belonging and pride for the Koori kids I taught and cared for. I wanted my kids to see themselves reflected in the classroom curriculum and in the world around them. It took time and effort but over the years I managed to procure resources that enabled me to do this.
When I began delivering Koori Curriculum workshops I bought my kit of resources with me to refer to as I spoke. What was intended to be a show and tell quickly turned into a Q&A with educators wanting to know where and how I happened across each product. I suddenly realised I wasn’t alone in my desperation of finding these products but in fact there were many educators out there just like me who were also struggling.
In time, we made the decision to begin an online shop and stock some of these products ourselves. Not all of our products are designed or made by an Aboriginal person or business e.g our Australian finger puppet range but I use these regularly in conjunction with children’s books that we sell from the Aboriginal publishing house in Western Australia, Magabala.
Stay tuned as we provide you more information on ethical sourcing, supporting Aboriginal businesses and educational resource across our blog and social media.