Valuing the cultural and social contexts of children and families is an underlying principle in the implementation of Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia. Educators recognise that there are different ways of living, being and knowing and that:
Children are born belonging to a culture, which is not only influenced by traditional practices, heritage and ancestral knowledge, but also by the experiences, values and beliefs of individual families and communities. (Belonging, Being and Becoming: The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia 2009 p.13)
Cultural competence is important for everyone and an area of practice that ELC educators are exploring further. Being cognizant of our own attitudes and developing knowledge of cultural practices and world views, supports cultural competence. In line with the school’s Reconciliation Action Plan, ELC educators have begun exploring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. At a recent Junior School Staff meeting, Kaurna man Uncle John Lochowiak, encouraged us to reflect on and share our cultures, who we are and what is important to us. He went on to introduce us to Tjukurrpa meaning Dreaming. Tjukurrpa is a way of understanding and being in the world. Uncle John explained the interconnected body of knowledge comprising dreaming, law, beliefs, values and practices that are important to Aboriginal people. ELC teachers are exploring authentic and meaningful ways to embed Aboriginal and in particular, Kaurna perspectives, in their daily practice and are looking forward to working with Uncle John to develop an understanding, appreciation and care for the Kaurna land on which we learn and live.
Stephanie Cabot and Sheryle Yorston