Cultural awareness

Recon03Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures in Early Childhood Programs, ECA Voice newsletter—Vol. 15 No. 4, 2013, p. 7. One of the guiding principles of the National Quality Framework is that ‘Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are valued’. We asked Aboriginal early childhood teacher Adam Duncan, from the Wiradjuri Preschool and Child Care Centre, for his insights. Free full text available here.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectivesECA Voice Newsletter—Vol. 9 No. 4, 2009, p. 4 (pdf). Both Julia in the Torres Strait and Helen in regional NSW commented that ‘the focus on belonging has proved powerful with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families they’ve worked with so far’. Julia noted that ‘the biggest challenge is not to implement the EYLF in tokenistic ways with respect to diversity; it’s important to get community ideas about the EYLF and how they see it as relating to them and their children’. Full free text available here.

Becoming culturally competent—Ideas that support practice, NQS PLP e-Newsletter No. 65, 2013 (pdf). Full free text available here.

Cultural Awareness Training, ECA Voice Newsletter—Vol. 15 No. 3, 2013, p. 7. As part of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), all Early Childhood Australia employees have participated in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness Training and found it really valuable. The article contains a link to a register of Cultural Awareness Trainers (see below) from the Reconciliation Australia website.  View a copy of this article here.

Cultural Awareness Training Register, provided by Reconciliation Australia. This register lists training providers by State and Territory who can be engaged to deliver training to organisations or groups. The register is free to access here.

Cultural competence—Stories about work in progress, NQS PLP e-Newsletter No 42, 2012 (pdf). Full free text available here.

Deadly cards This collection of 64 cards has been designed to take you on a unique reconciliation journey of personal and professional transformation. Developed by a dedicated team of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-indigenous educators sharing revelations from personal journeys, the Deadly Cards will inspire you to begin your own journey to reconciliation. More information is available here.

Share Our Pride is an excellent resource developed by Reconciliation Australia to provide a glimpse of how life looks from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective. It is generic in that it is not focused on early childhood specifically but it is a great starting point for everyone wanting to explore cultural awareness. The resource is free and available here.

Understanding cultural competence, NQS PLP e-Newsletter No. 7, 2011. ‘Cultural competence’ is one of those expressions where we all think we know what it means, but we might all mean something different. This e-Newsletter explores what it means in the context of the National Quality Standard. Full free text available here.

Yarra Healing promotes the voices of local Indigenous people of Melbourne and its surrounding areas. It gives expression to their stories and to the growth of the Reconciliation movement not only in Melbourne but across the nation.  Follow links here.

Cultural awareness in pedagogy and practice

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures in Early Childhood Education and Care, NQS PLP Case Studies, 2013. In this series, we talk to two educators—one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous—about why valuing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures matters so much and about how ECEC services might go about embedding respect for these cultures in their programs. View this resource here.

Case Study No.1 | Adam Duncan, Preschool Teacher, Wiradjuri Preschool and Child Care Centre, University of Canberra, ACT, 2013 (pdf). Full free text available here.

Case Study No.2 | Bree Wagner, Centre Manager, Baya Gawiy Buga yani Jandu yani u Centre (Fitzroy Crossing Children and Family Centre), Fitzroy Crossing, WA, 2013 (pdf). Full free text available here.

Bridging the gap: Improving literacy outcomes for Indigenous students by Louella Freeman and Sandra Bochner (Macquarie University) Australian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 33 No. 4, December, 2008, pp. 9–16. The main aim of the Bridging the Gap project was to encourage Indigenous families to use a home book-reading program to minimise the disadvantage often experienced by their children when learning to read. The project also had a positive impact on the role of the AEAs within the Indigenous Education Unit and their support of the literacy needs of Indigenous children in the first year at school.  Full free text available here.

Building Bridges, by Marilyn Fleer and Denise Williams-Kennedy, 2002. Building bridges: Literacy development in young Indigenous children builds the bridge between what Indigenous parents and their communities see as important about what their young children know and are able to do, and the teaching and learning process currently followed in preschools.  Purchase a copy of this publication online here.

Cultural competency NQS PLP e-Learning videos, cultural competency is one of the eight areas of practice in the Early Years Learning Framework. Cultural competency is about interactions and attitudes. It is how we honour and celebrate diversity when working with families and children. When we are being culturally competent we appreciate and live with difference and we are aware of what we gain from acknowledging differences. Watch videos online here.

Culturally strong childcare programs for Indigenous children, families and communities, by Andrew Guilfoyle (Edith Cowan University), Sherry Saggers (Curtin University of Technology), Margaret Sims (University of New England) and Teresa Hutchins (World Vision Australia). Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 35 No. 3, September, 2010. This paper, drawing upon a broad-based consultation funded by the Australian Government and conducted throughout 2005–06, addresses the key elements of what constitutes culturally strong childcare programs for Indigenous children, families and communities. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Diversity and difference: Lighting the spirit of identity, by Aunty Kerry Mundine and Miriam Giugni, Research in Practice Series—Vol. 13 No. 3, 2006. This publication raises areas in which all early childhood practitioners can have a positive influence, if they seek to embrace values that encompass cultural inclusion and social justice through their day-to-day work with young children. An inspiring yet confronting insight into the perceptions of cultural and racial equity of young children from a variety of backgrounds. Purchase a copy of this issue as an e-book online here.

Exploring Reconciliation in early childhood practice, National Quality Standard Professional Learning Program video. In this two part video, Catharine Hydon talks to three educators about exploring the place of Reconciliation in early childhood education and care practice. It also shows the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in educators work and some practical ways to take action. View the videos here.

Including Aboriginal Australia in your service, by Gangari Bamford Maguire and Associates, 2012 (pdf). The aim of this article is to provide a starting point for child care professionals to begin exploring and including the importance of Aboriginal Australia in their work. Full free text available here.

Inclusive childcare services: Meeting the challenge for Indigenous children, by Margaret Sims (University of New England) and Sherry Saggers and Katie Frances (Curtin University of Technology). Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 37 No. 3 September, 2012. Given that formal child care provides for a range of beneficial outcomes for children in significantly disadvantaged positions, how can more Indigenous children and their families be encouraged to participate in such care, especially in a mainstream setting? The following paper draws upon a broad-based consultation funded by the Australian Government and conducted throughout 2005–2006 to respond to this question. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing in early education for Indigenous children, by Dr Rosalind Kitson and Professor Jennifer Bowes (Macquarie University) Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 35 No. 4, December, 2010. The Australian government’s promise of preschool education for every four-year-old child, in particular for every Indigenous four-year-old, brings an opportunity to reconsider early childhood education for Indigenous children. This article suggests that incorporating Indigenous ways of knowing is required to make early learning attractive and accessible to Indigenous families. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Integrated Services for Aboriginal Children and Families, by Libby Lee-Hammond (Murdoch University) Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 38 No. 1, March, 2013. This paper discusses an empirical research study based on a community consultation process for the development of an integrated children and families centre. Conducted in Western Australia in 2009, the consultation was designed specifically for the Noongar Aboriginal community, drawing on Indigenous research methods and socio-cultural theory. The paper discusses the study’s findings, considers its Australian policy and international contexts, and explores challenges to providing integrated child and family services for Aboriginal families. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

My favourite book! Young Aboriginal children’s book choicesAustralasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 36 No. 1, by Susan Hill, Anne Glover (University of South Australia) and Michael Colbung (University of Adelaide) February, 2011. This study into the reading patterns and choices of three- to six-year-old Aboriginal children revealed that children chose books that promoted social interactions between family members and wider social networks. The study revealed that most families had few children’s books in the home and that access to children’s books was limited, while also demonstrating the appeal of good-quality children’s literature in generating numerous re-readings of favourite books.  Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Reconciliation in your work with children and families? NQS PLP Have you thought about? … watch this short video online here.

Respecting Diversity: Articulating Early Childhood Practice, by Carmel Richardson, Research in Practice Series—Vol. 18, No. 1, 2011. Each day within this particular program the educators acknowledge Indigenous custodianship of the land on which the centre is located. They use words learnt from members of the local Indigenous community as part of their morning greeting ritual. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

‘Stories from the heart’ Connecting children and families with our earth, by Catherine Lee, Research in Practice Series—Vol. 19 No. 3, 2012. Our holistic view of education for sustainability involves reflecting on: equity, our relationships with our Aboriginal people—the original custodians of this land—and how we can live together caring for the land and each other. Reconciliation and education for sustainability are dependent on connections, respect and relationships. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

The impact of early numeracy engagement on four-year-old Indigenous students,by Elizabeth Warren and Janelle Young (Australian Catholic University) and Eva deVries (Independent Schools Queensland). Australian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 33 No. 4, December, 2008, pp. 2–8. This paper reports on a component of a research project, Young Australian Indigenous students Literacy and Numeracy (YAILN), a longitudinal study investigating learning and teaching activities that support young Indigenous Australian Students as they enter formal schooling. Full free text available here.

Cultural events and celebrations

NAIDOC week celebrations are held around Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.The week is celebrated in increasing numbers of government agencies, schools, local councils and workplaces. For more information and ideas on how to celebrate NAIDOC Week visit here.

National Aboriginal and Islander Children’s Day is held annually to celebrate children and support community events around the country. This event is supported by the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care. To find out more visit the website here.

National Reconciliation Week is celebrated across Australia each year between 27 May and 3 June. The dates commemorate two significant milestones in the Reconciliation journey—the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision. The week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort. Anyone can get involved, visit the website for more information and ideas here.

Children’s books and resources

Baby Bilby and the Wildcat, byLyndall Stavrou and Jann Forge, 2012. Baby Bilby and the Wildcat is inspired by the unique landscapes, animals and the traditional food gathering and hunting of the Indigenous people of the Territory. A lyrical narrative, evocative of the Australian outback. Endangered and feral animals. Purchase a copy of this publication online here.

Napangardi’s Bush Tucker Walk, by Lyndall Stavrou and Jann Forge, 2012. Napangardi’s Bush Tucker Walk is a book in which the author has drawn on her rich experiences living and working in remote locations of the Territory. The author taught at Mungkarta School from 2002 until 2006 where she saw some of the traditional food gathering. Students often brought bush tucker to school. It is hoped that this story will contribute to the maintenance of Indigenous culture and language in the Barkly region. The Indigenous words for the animals and bushtucker are Alywarre, the language of Mungkarta and some other places in the NT. Purchase a copy of this publication online here.

Yellow Dog, by Lyndall Stavrou and Jenny Taylor, 2012. This story is based on a dog adopted by the family while living and working in an Aboriginal community, Kowanyama, on Cape York Peninsular. He was a little different from most dogs, using his long  claws to occasionally climb trees, dig waterlilly roots from the creek and generally behave like his ancestors. Purchase a copy of this publication online here.

Relationships with families

Culturally strong childcare programs for Indigenous children, families and communities, by Andrew Guilfoyle (Edith Cowan University), Sherry Saggers (Curtin University of Technology), Margaret Sims (University of New England) and Teresa Hutchins (World Vision Australia), Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 35 No. 3, September, 2010. This paper, drawing upon a broad-based consultation funded by the Australian Government and conducted throughout 2005–06, addresses the key elements of what constitutes culturally strong childcare programs for Indigenous children, families and communities. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Early childhood education programs for Indigenous children in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, by Larry Prochner (University of Alberta, Canada), Australian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 29 No. 4, December, 2004, pp. 7–16. This article presents an outline history of early childhood programs for indigenous children through a comparative study of initiatives in three countries Canada, Australia and New Zealand with the aim being to identify common and distinct developments in the three nations. Full free text available here.

It’s not rocket science: The perspectives of Indigenous early childhood workers on supporting the engagement of Indigenous families in early childhood settings, by Rebekah Grace and Michelle Trudgett (Macquarie University), Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 37 No. 2, June, 2012. This paper presents the findings from semi-structured interviews with six Indigenous Australian early childhood educators who were asked about how Indigenous families might be better supported to engage with early childhood education and care services. Full free text available here.

Malak family centre meets Peppermiarti community members, ECA Voice Newsletter—Vol. 14 No. 3, 2012 (pdf). Malak Family Centre is a not-for-profit community-based long day care centre located in Darwin. At the end of June, a group of nine Indigenous women from a crèche in Deewin Kirim, which is within Peppimenarti community lands, came to visit our centre to observe how a long day care centre runs. View a copy of this issue here.

Through young black eyes, Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), 2007. This publication aims to assist communities to develop the strength to talk about and respond to domestic violence, focusing on the impact on children of family violence, child abuse and neglect. Through young black eyes is about what you can do today, regardless of what others do. It’s about taking your own action, setting your own standards of what’s good for children and what’s not, and speaking up to protect children. Purchase a copy of this publication online here.

Creating culturally welcoming spaces

Aboriginal Australia map (Folded 594x841mm), Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, 1994. This map presents work carried out for The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia which began in 1988. The Encyclopaedia was published in 1994. Using the best available published research at the time, the map attempts to represent all the language and social groups of Indigenous people of Australia. Brief information about each group was included in the Encyclopaedia. Purchase a copy of this publication online here.

Growing Enriched Cultural Knowledge in Our Schools (GECKOS), Catholic Education Office of Western Australia. The GECKOS website has been created to provide teachers with information, ideas, activities and resources to support them in the meaningful integration of Aboriginal perspectives in the school curriculum. Teachers will find it a useful resource in implementing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross curriculum priority. View online here.

Growin’ up strong CD, byWendy Notley, 1996. Growin’ up strong is a collection of children’s songs with an Aboriginal perspective, inspired by Wendy’s many years of teaching Aboriginal children at Murawina Multi-Purpose Aboriginal Education Centre in Redfern, Sydney. Murawina was established by Aboriginal women in the early 1970’s and continues to serve the Aboriginal community. Purchase a copy of this publication online here (see also the Teacher Resource Book below).

Growin’ up strong: Teacher resource book, by Wendy Notley, Scholastic, 1996. This teacher resource book supports the CD, providing background information and teaching notes. It enables non-Aboriginal teachers to implement an Aboriginal perspective into their classroom programs. Purchase a copy of this publication online here.

Happy to be me CD, by Blake Education and Wendy Notley, 2007. The songs express the joy and pride that lives strong in Aboriginal children and reflect contemporary interest and life experiences that all children can relate to. Twenty-two Aboriginal language groups and communities from around Australia are included in the lyrics. Purchase a copy of this publication online here (see also the Teacher Resource Book below).

Happy to be me: Teacher resource book, by Wendy Notley, Blake, 2007. This teacher resource book directly supports the songs on happy to be me, the second CD from Aunty Wendy’s Mob. It has been developed in consultation with Aboriginal educators and education groups in New South Wales to ensure that it provides a culturally appropriate perspective for teaching in the early childhood setting and the early years of school. Purchase a copy of this publication online here.

Inclusive childcare services: Meeting the challenge for Indigenous children, By Margaret Sims (University of New England), Sherry Saggers and Katie Frances (Curtin University of Technology).  Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 37 No. 3 September, 2012. Given that formal child care provides for a range of beneficial outcomes for children in significantly disadvantaged positions, how can more Indigenous children and their families be encouraged to participate in such care, especially in a mainstream setting? The following paper draws upon a broad-based consultation funded by the Australian Government and conducted throughout 2005–2006 to respond to this question. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Living and learning togetherECA Voice Newsletter—Vol. 15 No. 1, 2013 (pdf). The Wanniassa School community is committed to developing and maintaining a welcoming and inclusive environment where we each understand true equality and all of our school members experience positive relationships, receive and give respect, and that we each experience success. We are committed to community involvement through consultation and celebration.  View a copy of this issue here.

ECA publications on Reconciliation and cultural awareness

ECA’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was developed with extensive consultation and support from the community, the Early Childhood Australia (ECA) Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) functions as a platform of values and principles from which ECA as an organisation can help advance reconciliation in our communities, and provide leadership and support to the early childhood education and care professionals it represents. View our RAP here

Every Child, Vol. 19 No. 2 2013—Reconciliation, recognition and respect
Reconciliation can be recognised in a number of ways and can be a part of any early childhood service, regardless of whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are enrolled. This issue of Every Child contains many sources of information and resources that can help you on your reconciliation journey. Purchase a copy of this issue here.

President’s message, ECA Voice Newsletter—Vol. 14 No. 1, 2012 (pdf). As many of you know already, ECA is strongly committed to Reconciliation. Our obligation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children flows directly from our commitments to social justice and the rights of children, and forms part of our ECA Strategic Directions. View a copy of this issue here:

President’s message, ECA Voice Newsletter—Vol. 13 No. 4, 2011 (pdf). These are areas where we are aiming at not only outcomes for children today and into the future, but where we are seeking particular long-term effects for society across future generations. View a copy of this issue here.

Respect, connect, enact—Developing Early Childhood Australia’s Reconciliation Action PlanECA Voice Newsletter—Vol. 14 No. 4, 2012 (pdf). Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) are about turning good intentions into real actions. A RAP is a plan that uses an holistic approach to create meaningful relationships and sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians (Reconciliation Australia, 2012). View a copy of this issue here.

Respect, enact, commit—Early Childhood Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan, 2012. In formalising this plan, we declare to our members and the sector that ECA will continue to take time to talk and think about how we, as ECA representatives, executives, members and staff, can best turn our words of commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families into actions. View our RAP here.

Taking ECA’s Reconciliation Action Plan forwardECA Voice Newsletter—Vol. 15 No. 2, 2013 (pdf). For ECA, developing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) symbolised a commitment to turn our words of commitment into ongoing action. View a copy of this issue here.

Recruiting and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators

Indigenous child carers leading the way, by Margaret Sims, Sherry Saggers, Teresa Hutchins, Andrew Guilfoyle, Anna Targowska and Stephanie Jackiewicz (Edith Cowan University). Australian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 33 No. 1 March 2008, pp. 56–60. Appropriate services supporting all of our young children, their families and their communities, have the potential to make a huge impact on our society, and we can no longer hide from our responsibilities and avoid providing such services. Full free text available here.

Transcript: Indigenous Australian perspectives in early childhood education, by Marcelle Townsend-Cross Gnibi, College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Southern Cross University. Australian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 29 No. 4, December, 2004. Taken from a keynote address at the Pacific Early Childhood Education Research Association 5th Annual International Conference and Meeting, Identities and innovations: Shaping better worlds through early childhood education, 16–19 July 2004, Melbourne. A personal account of life experiences and research in relation to the concepts of respect, identity, relatedness and education offered by an Indigenous Australian woman reared by a non-Indigenous family in a non-Indigenous community. Free full text available here.

University-qualified Indigenous early childhood teachers: Voices of resilience, by Alma Fleet, Ros Kitson, Bevan Cassady and Ross Hughes (Macquarie University) and co-researchers* and project participants. Australian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 32 No. 3 September, 2007. Demonstrating persistence and resilience, increasing numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early childhood teachers are gaining university qualifications. This paper explores factors that support and constrain these students on the path to their degrees. Full free text available here.

Policy and research on improving children’s outcomes

Australian Indigenous perspectives on quality assurance in children’s services, by Teresa Hutchins (Edith Cowan University), Professor Sherry Saggers (Curtin University of Technology) and Dr Katie Frances (Edith Cowan University), Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 34 No. 1 March, 2009, pp. 10–19. This article addresses two fundamental issues relating to the development of an integrated system as it applies to Indigenous children’s services. Specifically, these issues relate to a conceptualisation of quality child care from an Indigenous perspective, and to the participation of Indigenous services in an integrated quality assurance system. Full free text available here.

Defining and assessing the school readiness of Indigenous Australian children, by Nicholas McTurk, Tess Lea (Charles Darwin University), Gary Robinson, Georgie Nutton and Jonathan R. Carapetis (Menzies School of Health Research), Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 36 No. 1 February, 2011. The research evidence that underpins the school readiness of Indigenous Australian children is reviewed in this article, followed by identification of issues requiring research attention. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Early childhood education programs for Indigenous children in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, by Larry Prochner (University of Alberta, Canada), Australian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 29 No. 4 December, 2004, pp. 7–16. This article presents an outline history of early childhood programs for indigenous children through a comparative study of initiatives in three countries ‘Canada, Australia and New Zealand’ with the aim being to identify common and distinct developments in the three nations. Full free text available here.

Equity of access: Requirements of Indigenous families and communities to ensure equitable access to government-approved childcare settings in Australia, by Stephanie Jackiewicz (Telethon Institute for Child Health Research), Sherry Saggers and Kate Frances (Curtin University), Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 36 No. 3 September, 2011. This article is concerned with the interplay between Indigenous children and their families’ equitable access to government-approved childcare services and their respective participation in such services. Specifically, it focuses on key factors that affect access and that serve as barriers to participation. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families in early childhood education and care services: Learning from good practice (SNAICC) (pdf).

Integrated services for Aboriginal children and families,by Libby Lee-Hammond (Murdoch University) Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 38 No. 1 March, 2013. This paper discusses an empirical research study based on a community consultation process for the development of an integrated children and families centre. Conducted in Western Australia in 2009, the consultation was designed specifically for the Noongar Aboriginal community, drawing on Indigenous research methods and sociocultural theory. The paper discusses the study’s findings, considers its Australian policy and international contexts, and explores challenges to providing integrated child and family services for Aboriginal families. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Licensing and regulation of Indigenous childcare services, by Anna Targowska (Edith Cowan University), Sherry Saggers and Kate Frances (Curtin University),  Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 35 No. 4 December, 2010. The focus in this article is on licensing and regulation requirements of Indigenous childcare services and the impact they may have on the provision of quality child care for the children, families and communities being served. Specifically, it focuses on key factors that both contribute towards, and serve as barriers to, the provision of quality care through licensing and regulation requirements. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

Mapping and analysis of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early years and family support services across Australia (SNAICC) (pdf).

Our greatest challenge: Aboriginal children and human rights, by Hannah McGlade, Aboriginal Studies Press, 2012. Hannah McGlade’s new book bravely addresses the complex and fraught issue of Aboriginal child abuse. She argues that Aboriginal child sexual assault has been formed within the entrenched societal forces of racism, colonisation and patriarchy, yet cast in the Australian public domain as an Aboriginal ‘problem’, with controversial government responses critiqued as racist and paternalistic. McGlade highlights that non-Aboriginal society has yet to acknowledge the traumatic impacts of the sexual assault on Aboriginal children which was part and parcel of the European project of ‘civilisation’. Purchase a copy of this publication online here.

Retained primary reflexes in pre-primary-aged Indigenous children: The effect on movement ability and school readiness, by Deborah Callcott (Edith Cowan University), Australasian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 37 No. 2 June, 2012. This project challenged the stereotypical assumption (by non-Indigenous Australians) that the majority of Indigenous Australian children have well-developed or even above average movement skill development, based on their being more likely than non-Indigenous children to engage in regular physical activity and perform well in sport. The research reported in this paper links children’s movement skills with learning difficulties, particularly school readiness, in the early years. Purchase a copy of this issue online here.

SNAICC National Conference, ECA Voice Newsletter—Vol. 12 No. 3, 2010 (pdf). For Our Children Local Strengths, National Challenges—Ampe Anwernekenheke: Rlterrke Akwete Aneye was the fifth national conference of SNAICC. SNAICC, in its role as the national peak body in Australia representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families, offered over 1000 people (professionals, academics, policy-makers and community elders) an opportunity to meet together to share our commitment to Aboriginal children and families.  View a copy of this issue here.

The impact of early numeracy engagement on four-year-old Indigenous students,by Elizabeth Warren (Australian Catholic University), Janelle Young (Australian Catholic University) and Eva deVries (Independent Schools Queensland), Australian Journal of Early Childhood—Vol. 33 No. 4 December, 2008, pp. 2–8. This paper reports on a component of a research project, Young Australian Indigenous students Literacy and Numeracy (YAILN), a longitudinal study investigating learning and teaching activities that support young Indigenous Australian students as they enter formal schooling. Full free text available here.

Broader policy frameworks

Australian Government: Apology to the Stolen Generations, 2008. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd made this speech to the Australian Parliament to mark a major turning point in acknowledging the suffering of the Stolen Generations. ‘The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future. We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians …’. Read the full text or watch the video here.

Bringing them home, report of the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, Australian Human Rights Commission, 1997. This report is a tribute to the strength and struggles of many thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people affected by forcible removal. We acknowledge the hardships they endured and the sacrifices they made. We remember and lament all the children who will never come home.  View full text here.

Closing the Gap in Indigenous Disadvantage Council of Australian Governments (COAG) 2008. COAG agreed to six ambitious targets to address the disadvantage faced by Indigenous Australians in life expectancy, child mortality, education and employment. They are to:

  • close the gap in life expectancy within a generation (by 2031)
  • halve the gap in mortality rates for Indigenous children under five by 2018
  • ensure access to early childhood education for all Indigenous four year olds in remote communities by 2013
  • halve the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children by 2018
  • halve the gap for Indigenous students in Year 12 (or equivalent) attainment rates by 2020
  • halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and other Australians by 2018.

Read more about these initiatives here.

The Redfern Speech, former Prime Minister Paul Keating’s 1992 speech on Aboriginal injustice was declared Australia’s most unforgettable speech, in a recent survey. View online here.

United Nations: Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007. The UN General Assembly adopted this landmark declaration outlining the rights of the world’s estimated 370 million indigenous peoples and outlawing discrimination against them—a move that followed more than two decades of debate. View full text here.

Useful Links

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan (Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs)

Australia Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Research Resources 

Australians for Native Title And Reconciliation Teaching Resources

Australian Government: Reconciliation

Australian Human Rights Commission: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice

National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission Education Make Indigenous Poverty History: Education Kit

NSW Health: Communicating Positively: A Guide to Appropriate Aboriginal Terminology

Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology: Koori Cohort of Researchers 

Secretariat of National Aboriginal Islander Child Care Joining the Dots

The Equal Opportunity Commission of Western Australia: Aboriginal Matters