Our podcasts are as real and as raw as the educator next to you. In a series of conversational style recordings, Jess sits down to discuss all things relating to Aboriginal culture and curriculums in early childhood services across Australia. Each of our guests has a unique story to tell about their journey towards building cultural confidence and competence, providing real life examples, practical strategies and inspirational messages to the listener.

Join us as we travel around the nation discussing everything you need to know about advocacy, Aboriginal culture, elders, events, education and more.

You can listen in via the media player below or via the Podcasts app on your Apple device by hitting the button below.


Episode 1 - Interview with Heather Brady and Jodie Stewart


In this episode I sit down with Heather Brady and Jodie Stewart from Yarrawong Children’s Centre.

Yarrawong is one of Orange City Council's three long day care centres. They also have a family daycare, occasional care and OSH and vacation care. Yarrawong is youngest of the long day care centres. Opened in 1993 they cater for about 59 children each day, aged from nought to five years. Yarrawong is located in the central west of New South Wales in Wiradjuri country, just past Bathurst over the Blue Mountains.

In our episode we will discuss:

  • The importance of whole team training for centres on the inclusion of Aboriginal perspectives.
  • What inspired Heather and Jodie’s journey
  • How the centre embraces individual strengths of educators and utilises this as a way in for educators to include culture in the curriculum.
  • Tips for sourcing professional development readings
  • Acknowledging the process of un-learning and re-learning about Australia’s Black history
  • Building relationships with the local Aboriginal Community
  • Important protocols when using Aboriginal language in Early Learning programs
  • Working with Aboriginal Elders and communities
  • Engaging with Aboriginal committees and organisations
  • How Yarrawong approaches NAIDOC week
  • Different forms of advocacy and why it’s important
  • How to respectfully include the Aboriginal perspectives in the curriculum
  • The value in persistence

Links mentioned in this episode:

AECG Website: https://www.aecg.nsw.edu.au/

Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/

Episode 2 - Interview with Marnie Omeragic


In this episode I interview Marnie Omeragic from Concord West Rhodes Preschool.

Marnie has worked in community-based services for 28 years, developing strong relationships and connections with the local community, advocating high quality play based learning, inclusive practices, embedded environmental and sustainable approaches, and connecting children to place; particularly the riverside parkland alongside the preschool.

Concord West Rhodes Preschool has been the finalise in the City of Canad Bay sustainability awards for 2017 and 2017. They were winners of the New South Wales Early Childhood Environmental Education Network Sprout Awards in 2015 and 2016. Their embedded anti-bias practises were awarded Highly Commended by the 2017 Social Justice and Early Childhood Anti-Bias Award. Marnie is a contributor to the 2018 Aboriginal Early Childhood Practice Guide, edited by Jessica Staines and Red Ruby Scarlet, sharing insights into her journey of embedding Aboriginal perspectives within the service.

In this episode we will discuss:

  • The history of Concord West Rhodes Preschool and it’s notable location
  • The pre-schools positive impact within the community
  • How Marnie embeds an Aboriginal Perspective into her curriculum.
  • Marnie’s journey over the past 30 years
  • Learning to embed an Aboriginal Perspective
  • The difference between tokenistic and stereotypical
  • How Marnie and her team of educators connected with the community
  • Yabon Festival
  • Yarning Circles
  • Working with Mathew Doyle
  • Embedding practice of noticing’s
  • How to engage the whole team
  • Acknowledgment of country
  • And more!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Western Sydney Reconciliation Group - https://reconciliation4westernsydney.org/

Concord West Rhodes Pre-School - https://www.concordwestrhodespreschool.org.au/

EYLF - https://www.education.gov.au/early-years-learning-framework-0

Yabun Festival - http://yabun.org.au/

Yarning Circles - https://kooricurriculum.com/pages/yarning-circle

Blak Markets Bear Island - https://blakmarkets.com/

Koori Curriculum - https://kooricurriculum.com/

Episode 3 - Interview with Cassie Davis


In this episode I sit down with Cassie Davis from the Western suburbs of Melbourne.

Cassie began working in Early Childhood education in 2003 when she was just 16 years old. She always knew she, wanted to be an educator and work with children and after working in long daycare for 11 years, she was ready to take on a teaching position at a sessional kindergarten for her local council in Tarneit. From 2015 her reconciliation journey began both professionally and personally.

In our episode we will discuss:

  • Wyndham City Councils vision for reconciliation
  • How the centres journey for inclusion has shifted over time
  • How Cassie utilises children’s natural interests to embed an Aboriginal perspective
  • Cassie’s team and their role in embedding an Aboriginal Perspective
  • Cassie’s Torres Strait Island experience
  • Understanding Torres Strait Islander culture and views
  • How is Torres Strait and Aboriginal culture different
  • Torres Strait Islander community challenges
  • Establishing relationships with local Aboriginal community members
  • Local council support and what that looks like
  • Torres Strait Islander celebrations and what they look like
  • Floral Fridays
  • Knowledge sharing with the team
  • Torres Strait food
  • Cultural inclusion

Links mentioned in this episode:

Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/

Wyndham Council: https://www.wyndham.vic.gov.au/reconciliationweek

Episode 4 - Interview with Jane Nicholas


In this episode I yarn with Jane Nicholas from Wiallandra Primary school in Western Australia.

Jane has taught classroom music to Western Australian primary students for many years. During her teaching career, Jane enjoyed developing strong community links with Aboriginal musicians, artists, authors, elders and the families of her students. Jane has used these things to create and embed culturally enriched lessons, resources and programmes. Jane has run numerous workshops for educators, and has presented at national and international conferences. In Glasgow, Baku, Prague, highlighting her creativity is approaching First Nation's cultures and music teaching. Jane was awarded the ASMA Music Educating For Life Award for Western Australia in Melbourne in 2017. And then the Outstanding Professional Service Award from Professional Teachers Council of WA in 2018.

In this episode with Jane we will cover:

  • Teaching music in Western Australia
  • Jane’s background in journalism
  • Jane’s involvement in Aboriginal group women’s choirs
  • Aboriginal music
  • Incorporating contemporary work
  • Being aware of protocols
  • Teaching with traditional instruments
  • Use of language
  • Deborah Cheethams Short Black Opera:
  • Embedding Aboriginal Perspectives into Music
  • Embrace mistakes

Links mentioned in this episode:

Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/

Troy Casser-Daley: https://troycassardaley.com.au/

Sally Morgan: https://www.austlit.edu.au/austlit/page/A35035

Bronwyn Bancroft: https://www.bronwynbancroft.com/

Mau Power song “Freedom”: https://www.maupower.com/music-videos/freedom-feat-archie-roach

Deborah Cheethams Short Black Opera: https://www.shortblackopera.org.au/team

Amebelin Kyaymullina: https://ambelin-kwaymullina.com.au/#!/

Marlene Cummin’s Jazz piece: http://www.marlenecummins.com/

Episode 5 - Interview with Jasmin Sheppard


In this episode I sit down with Jasmin Shepphard, an Aboriginal woman from the Gulf of Carpentaria with Irish, Chinese, and Hungarian Jewish ancestry.

Jasmine joined Bangarra dance theatre in 2007, dancing and numerous senior artists roles, including the title role of Patty Garan In 2014. In 2012 Jasmine was nominated for an Australian Dance Award for Best Female Dancer. She choreographed her first work for the company Mack in 2013, which toured nationally and internationally. Mack was nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best New Work in 2017 and won a Helpmann Award for Best Regional Touring programme in 2018. Her independent works include No Remittance and Choice Cut. Jasmine is an artist in residence at Campbelltown Art Centre and Native Earth Theatre Company in Toronto, who will premier her first full length work in 2020.

In this episode we will discuss:

  • Jasmin’s career dancing with Bangarra
  • How dancing providing an opportunity to connect with indigenous communities within Australia and around the world
  • Similarities between indigenous cultures around the world
  • Intergenerational trauma
  • Indigenous communities in developed and developing countries
  • How cultural dance can strengthen a community
  • How western society looks at dance
  • Jasmin’s perspective on dance, song and story
  • Our upcoming Dance as Pedagogy workshops and what will be included during these sessions
  • How you can join our upcoming workshops

Links mentioned in this episode:

Bangarra Dance Website: https://www.bangarra.com.au/

Dance as Pedagogy Workshop: https://events.humanitix.com.au/bendigo-dance-as-pedagogy

Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/

Episode 6 - Interview with Kerri Douglas


In this episode I sit down with Kerri Douglas, a proud Dja Dja Wurrung and Bangerang descendant. Since 2014, Kerri has been employed with the Department of Education and Training Victoria as a Koori Engagement Support Officer, otherwise known as KESO.

In this episode we will discuss:

  • What is a KESO (Koori Educator Support Officer)?
  • What role does a KESO play in schools and community?
  • How are schools assigned a KESO?
  • How to find a KESO (ie, department of education and training)
  • The region Kerri currently covers
  • The importance of providing professional development in regional areas
  • Do KESO’s work with other organisations and how this happens
  • LAECG - what this is and why it is important
  • The challenges Aboriginal familes in Kerri’s allocated area are currently facing
  • What support does Keri provide as part of her role
  • How educators can start
  • Kerri’s process of implementing a ‘culture audit’ at the centre’s she supports
  • The importance of celebrating how far we have come in early childhood.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/

Episode 7 - Interview with Narelle Avis


In this episode I sit down with Narelle Avis from Cooma North Preschool

Narelle Avis has been the Director of the Cooma North Preschool for 14 years and has worked in the Early Childhood Sector for over 20 years. Narelle is a passionate Early Childhood Teacher with a strong interest in inclusive practice and advocacy for children.

Narelle is an active member of the local Early Childhood network group. She is the Educational Leader of the service and enjoys mentoring and supporting the other teachers and educators. Narelle believes that relationships with families and children are central to children’s learning and development.

In this episode we will discuss:

  • Cooma North Preschool’s historical background
  • Narelle’s career and her time with Cooma North Preschool
  • Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and how Narelle kick started the process in her centre
  • Unlearning to re-learn
  • ‘Innovative and be resourceful’ – Narelle’s tips for professional development in regional or remote areas.
  • Cooma North Preschool’s transformation around including Aboriginal Perspective’s and how they got started.
  • Challenge Narelle and her team have overcome in a short period of time.
  • How to navigate conflicting advice
  • Narelle’s artist in residency program and the challenges that surfaced
  • How to build trust and relationships with your local community
  • How to include your team and the importance of Leaders being onboard and having the right conversations.
  • Resources for educators looking to get started.
  • Why it’s really important and the conversation you need to be having

Links mentioned in this episode:

Cooma North Preschool Association Incorporated:



Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/

Episode 8 - Top 10 Children's Books that include an Aboriginal perspective


In this episode, I'll be sharing my top 10 children's books that include or embed an Aboriginal perspective.

I'll also share the guidelines I follow when sourcing literature, and share why each book is one I'm happy to recommend, how you can use the books in your centre, and where you can find more information about embedding an Aboriginal perspective into your curriculum.

Resources mentioned in this episode can be found at Koori Curriculum.


Episode 9: Aboriginal clothing companies we should support


We have had lots of conversations recently with educators who are members of the Koori Curriculum Educator Community about authentic Aboriginal fashion labels. Now that everyone is online shopping we have seen educators pull away from mainstream clothing brands and consciously wanting to support an Aboriginal small business with their spending dollars.

However, it can be tricky to work out what brands are genuine and reputable.

To assist educators in their search for authenticity the Koori Curriculum has put together our top ten deadly Aboriginal designers.

You can also access a FREE PDF that includes all the brands and designers mentioned today over on our website here.


Episode 10: Interview with Adam Shipp


In this episode, I interview Adam Shipp founder of Yurbay.

Yurbay offers a range of services to connect you, your family, friends and work colleagues to local food and medicine plants from the region. Yurbay (You ra bi) is the Wiradjuri word for ‘seed’.

In this episode we will discuss:

  • Adam’s background including where he grew up and what inspired him to start Yurbay.
  • Traditional plan use and how Adam inherited his knowledge.
  • Nature pedagogy.
  • Bush tucker including bush berries.
  • Aboriginal culture in the service.
  • Walk on country
  • How educators can move past the fear of implementing
  • How to work with Adam
  • And more!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Yurbay - http://www.yurbay.com.au/
Koori Curriculum - https://kooricurriculum.com/

Episode 11: Interview with Kristine Willems


In this episode I yarn with Kristine Willems.

Kristine is a diploma trained educator that has been working in early childhood for 32 years. Kristine usually works at a sessional kindergarten for Wyndham city council. However, she left her family and fur babies behind this year to move to the northern territory to teach in a remote community. So, if ever you have been curious about what that change would be like, then this is the podcast for you.

In this episode we will discuss:

  • Kristine’s background and how she came to work in the Northern Territory.
  • What long day care in the Northern Territory looks like and how it differs from metropolitan centres.
  • Aboriginal languages and Jess’s personal experience hearing indigenous elders who did not speak English.
  • How flexibility is key to Kristine’s role.
  • Adapting for being able to learn in a physical way.
  • Working with local community.
  • How Kristine navigates negative feedback or criticism when people think her presence is to ‘save the children’ (which she outlines is the opposite of why she is there).
  • The importance of body language
  • The value of kinship in community
  • And much, much more!

Episode 12: My answers to your most commonly asked questions


In this episode I interview myself!

I often get asked similar questions regarding my business and the work I do supporting educators in Australia, so today I’m sharing my answers to your most commonly asked questions.

Let’s go!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/

Episode 13: Interview with Tanika Davis


In this episode I Tanika Davis – a proud Aboriginal woman from Forster NSW and founder of ‘The I am, Movement.’Tanika is a Mother ,Wife and Business owner with so much to offer. She has a background in Indigenous Health Promotion, Event management and Community program delivery but her business is her everything.

The ‘I Am, Movement’ was founded after the diagnoses of Autism Spectrum Disorder with her now almost 4 year old Son Slade.

The Movement allows other families to feel culturally safe with the resources she has developed in conjunction with Indigenous Artists around NSW. This is just the start for the Movement...

Links mentioned in this episode:

Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/

The I Am, Movement: https://theiammovement.com.au/


Episode 14: Our top tips for NAIDOC Week


As we start to approach July, our inbox normally gets flooded by educators who enthusiastically starting to plan and programme for their NAIDOC experiences and activities.

We thought to make things easier we would put together some of our top tips for NAIDOC Week to get everyone started on the right path. Now, as many of you may know, NAIDOC Week historically is from the first Sunday in July to the second Sunday in July.

It's the first full week of July is where NAIDOC usually occurs.

However, due to the current pandemic, NAIDOC has been moved to later in the year when hopefully community gatherings will be back taking place.

Nonetheless, there's no reason that you can't be using this time to reflect and review and consider how you are embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in your programme.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/

NAIDOC: https://www.naidoc.org.au/get-involved/2020-theme

Episode 15: Our top 30 tips in 30 days Challenge


We are currently offering a free series on kooricurriculum.com called “Our top 30 tips in 30 days” and today I am sharing our favourite 5 for those who are looking for a little sneak peek into the series.

In this episode I dive into:

  • Tip 1: Just Start
  • Tip 2: Reflect on your why
  • Tip 3: Plan
  • Tip 4: Take things slow
  • Tip 5: Be realistic

To join this free series click here.

Episode 16: Special episode: Family Day Care educator’s panel


This episode is a special family day care educator's episode, where I'm talking to Caroline, Renata and Sarah, who are family day care educators scattered across Sydney, and the Northern Beaches in New South Wales.

We have pulled together highlights from three separate interviews talking about how family day care educators can best include Aboriginal perspectives in their programme, and connect with their local Aboriginal community.

As we recognise that family day care educators have a quite unique position. The way that we would approach this work in their setting is quite different to how we would to this for, for early learning educators that are working in a pre-school, or long day care.

We cover lots in this episode, so grab find a quiet spot, grab a pen and paper and get ready to take notes!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Koori Curriculum: https://kooricurriculum.com/
Renata Stipanovic Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/RENATAS.FDC/
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/renatas_familydaycare/?hl=af

Sutherland Shire Council’s website at: https://www.sutherlandshire.nsw.gov.au/Community/Childcare/Family-Day-Care/FamilyDay-CareEducators/Sylvania-Renata  

Episode 17: Interview with Kiya Watts


In this episode I sit down and yarn with Kiya Watts, the artist behind ABC Playschool’s “Kiya” doll. Kiya Watts is a Menang, Gnudju, and Noongar artist residing in Albany.

In this episode we dive into:

  • Why the Kiya doll was an important additional to Playschool
  • The importance of Cultural identity
  • Kiya’s collaboration with House of Dizzy
  • Kiya’s involvement in ‘Trading Blak’
  • How to support ‘Trading Blak’
  • How to find Aboriginal owned businesses
  • Jess and Kiya’s favourite Aboriginal fashion labels
  • Supply Nation
  • ‘We wear black on Wednesdays’ initiative
  • When is it okay for a non-indigenous person to wear indigenous products?
  • And more!

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