At Treetops Preschool our experience was inspired by two of our favourite books: “Colours of Australia” by Bronwyn Bancroft and “Collecting Colour” by Kylie Dunstan. On our weekly ‘On Country’ bush walk through our back gate into Garigal Country, we were inspired by “Colours of Australia” where Bronwyn Bancroft showcases our vast and beautiful Australian landscapes through her bold and modern indigenous art style; matching the colours Bronwyn describes in her book to colours we could see surrounding us: the green of the fern frond, the different shades of brown bark, even the blue of the ocean and horizon we could see in the distance. “The ocean is a different blue to the sky.” -Joey, “Yeah, it’s darker!”- Zoe, “I can see the horizon!”- Imogen
Combining Bronwyn Bancroft’s “Colours of Australia” and “Collecting Colour” by Kylie Dunstan, we carefully collected items of different colours; showing respect and caring for country by collecting only what has fallen onto the ground: leaves, berries, bark, rocks, a banksia ... “Just like Rose and Olivia” – Elvy. We compared them to a variety of paint colour swatches, observing all the subtle shades and colours in each item we collected from Country.
Several of our educators recently attended a Gai-mariagal Day event at Georges Heights during Reconciliation Week and were involved in constructing a coloured sand painting with Aboriginal artist Colin Walangari Karntawarra McCormack. Our educators shared photos of this experience with the children; “We can make one just like it” – Mikey, “But we don’t have coloured sand” – Kai, “We can use what we collected ‘On country’” – Aster.
Our bush art facilitated teamwork and cooperation as we worked together expressing our creativity. As we read “Colours of Australia” we were encouraged to look more closely at the environment around us, looking for colour in the sky, on the ground and amongst the bushes and trees. Our observation skills were heightened as we carefully took note of the palette of colours in our natural bushland setting. Our completed colourful art remained exposed to the elements out in our playground and it gradually blew away dispersing back into the earth on Garigal country.
At Treetops Preschool we are committed to fostering children's understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, promoting a culture of reconciliation. As educators, we are aware of our role in making a significant and positive difference as we are a crucial link between the rhetoric of reconciliation and the reality of the vision fulfilled. As we deepen our own understanding through local events and authentic resources, we are committing ourselves to furthering our own personal journeys of reconciliation.