Lori-Ann McKinnon - Port Macquarie Community Preschool we
Wiyabu (hello), on behalf of Port Macquarie Community Preschool we would like to nominate Lori-Ann McKinnon, our Aboriginal Engagement Educator, for the 2023 Educator of the Year award. Lori-Ann is a proud Birpai woman, who has brought her wealth of cultural knowledge to our preschool curriculum and community.
Lori-Ann is an active driver of our Reconciliation Action Plan and is responsible for the organisation of educational resources and learning materials, most she makes herself, that support the inclusion of an Aboriginal perspective to the program. As part of the Ninganah No More program, she facilitates the education in Aboriginal cultural practices and language revitalisation.
Lori-Ann has been mentoring our preschool community to incorporate Gathang, the language of the Birpai community, into the learning program. She uses play based activities and experiences such as songs, games, stories and a word of the week program, to extend learning. Lori-Ann also leads the Beach / Bush kinder program, taking groups of children on country learning language and developing connections with the land of her ancestors.
An active member of the wider local Aboriginal community, through her membership of the Djiyagan Dhanbaan (Strong Sister) initiative, Lori-Ann has facilitated a partnership between the Strong Sisters and the preschool, to develop Gathang Language resources for all local Early Childhood Education Services. Lori-Ann has facilitated the strong relationships the preschool has built with Aboriginal families and business’ in the community and the establishment of our Elder in Residence at the preschool. She has led our stall holding at the annual NAIDOC celebrations and the Nyiirun Djiyagan Wakulda Women's Festival.
We would like to say marrungbu (thank you) to Lori-Ann for how she has been largely responsible for a dramatic increase of Aboriginal children enrolled in our preschool and how she is authentically guiding our journey of reconciliation.