Sydney Early Education Centres - Tallowwood
As a new early childhood service, we began our inclusive journey before we even opened our doors in 2020. Part of this learning journey was to build our understanding of the local Indigenous community and with this, develop our Acknowledge of Country. The team were involved in professional development sessions to build our cultural competency and learn more about the local indigenous people (Terramerregal), their country (Darug), what an Acknowledgement of Country is and also the importance of it being embedded into our everyday practice.
Soon after welcoming our first children into the service, we started talking with our children about who the Terramerregal people are and why it is important to start our morning group learning experiences with an Acknowledgement of Country. This became part of our daily rituals with the children each morning in all our learning groups.
Our goal for this year is centred on extending the children’s understanding and appreciation of Indigenous history and culture. The children in our Tallowwood Preschool learning group, supported by their educators, designed and created a book to support the children in gaining a deeper understanding of our Acknowledgement of Country. Whist creating the book, the educators and children engaged in conversation about “the Terramerregal people”, “the land”, “the people” and “animals”. Our book supports learning through visuals and allows children to increase their interest in the subject matter and break down complex information.
Our current practice is to gather the Tallowwood children in a circle and read along with the book. At the beginning of the year, our educators would normally be leading the group. Meanwhile, we are noticing more and more children are gaining more understanding of the process and would offer to lead their peers. Our goal is to get all the Tallowwood children involved and progressively offer more opportunities for children that are comfortable to take the lead or even share this practice with their families.