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Koori Curriculum 2018 Yarning Circle REDFERN


Designer: Koori Curriculum

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Feb 7,2018 - Dec 4,2018 Time: 1:30 pm - 3:30 pm
Koori Curriculum Educator Yarning Circles: Connecting Early Childhood Educators with their local Aboriginal community.
The Koori Curriculum is an Aboriginal Early Childhood consultancy based in Sydney directed and owned by Wiradjuri woman and Early Childhood Teacher Jessica Staines. Koori Curriculum Educator Yarning Circles aim to foster participants emerging knowledge of Aboriginal culture and ways of being by engaging with niche cultural knowledge holders throughout a continuous journey.
This group operates with an understanding that no one Aboriginal person can speak on behalf of all Aboriginal people nor can they give guidance and advice on all topics. Therefore, when the group identifies a specific interest that they wish to learn more about we engage cultural knowledge holders and experts in that particular field whether it be language, bush tucker, art or pedagogies to come and yarn with us.
To date our Yarning Circle members have attended Aboriginal workshops at the Museum of Contemporary Arts, NSW Art Gallery, Australian Museum, Royal Botanical Gardens, Sydney Observatory, NAIDOC celebrations in Hyde Park and Muru Mittigar Cultural Centre. In addition to this they have also receive professional development workshops from Dr Tyson Yunkaporta on Aboriginal pedagogies, Dr Red Ruby Scarlet surrounding anti-bias, Koori Kinnections, Weaving Dreams, Yaama Aboriginal Programs, Shannon Foster D’harawal Knowledge Holder, Joanne Garland on Wiradjuri language, Cecelia Wright from Cultural Inclusions about Torres Strait Islander Culture, Narragunnawali on Reconciliation Action Plans and Aunty Wendy’s Mob.
Many educators are fearful of including Aboriginal perspectives in their program as they are worried about doing the wrong thing, being offensive, stereotypical and tokenistic. However, educators have begun using the Koori Curriculum Yarning Circle as a bridge between their service and their local Aboriginal community. This space allows educators to listen and be with members of the community, to consult and ask questions in a safe supportive place.
Early learning services need to have a multifaceted approach when embarking on a journey to create culturally safe and inclusive programs. Educators need to regularly engage in cultural competency mentoring and not just attend one off workshops. If our goal in Early Childhood is to meaningfully embed Aboriginal perspectives in our daily program the only way we can truly do this is by developing relationships. When educators build relationships with cultural knowledge holders they acquire a better understanding and confidence in how Aboriginal perspectives connect and can be entwined into their curriculum instead of something that is tacked on and separate.
A genuine relationship is based on the foundations of respect and reciprocity. Participants of the circle value participating in local community events and often attend gathering and celebrations with their families in their own personal time.
This year over forty early childhood educators collaborated with the Koori Curriculum to facilitate play experiences on the 26th of January at Sydney's Yabun Survival Day Festival. Being involved in Yarning Circles enables educators to acquire a deeper understanding of Aboriginal culture rather than just scratching at the surface. Educators who are part of this group have developed an emerging sense of confidence and are now empowering and enlightening other educators in their networks to reflect on how they are embedding Aboriginal perspectives in their program and supporting them to learn more about the local Aboriginal culture and communities.
Quote from Yarning Circle Participant Marnie:
"Our Yarning group is a chance to share ideas, be inspired, engage in honest, critical reflection with fellow educators in a safe environment committed to social justice issues and is tailored to the group's specific strengths and challenges. Initially I took part to learn about issues effecting our First Nations People, to learn about Australia's true history and to develop an understanding of Indigenous perspectives and how to include these in everyday experiences with children. This was certainly achieved! Two years in, our Yarning circle is now focused on the group's goals of building our personal and team leadership and advocacy skills, with opportunities to connect and give back to community. We are mentored to share our quality practices beyond our own services, to up-skill others and constantly strive to strengthen and embed our own Indigenous perspectives. There have been amazing opportunities to engage with guest speakers as well as attending local community events and Indigenous tours of places of significance, such as the Australian Museum, Art galleries and Botanic gardens. I've also made life long friends and strong community networks along the way." 
This group will meet from February - December 2018 the first Wednesday of every month typically from 1:30-3:30
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