In December, newly elected President, Joan Gilbert, led the Executive Committee in planning for 2017. Reconciliation and Advocacy were determined as the main priorities for the Branch. The Executive Committee will develop action plans to involve the broader membership.
Cultural Respect and Safety Training Workshop
This all day workshop for Branch Executive members on 25 March 2017 will be held at the Living Kaurna Cultural Centre at Marion SA. Cultural Respect Training Consultants Sharon Gollan, Kathleen Stacey, Cara Ellickson and Tony Fletcher will lead the training.
At the AGM of Reconciliation SA on 16 November 2016 the Hon. Fred Chaney AO shared his years of experience working with both government and communities and the roles they each play in reconciliation and justice. The take home message of his speech was that it’s time for the government to work with Aboriginal people, not to or for. Fred reminded us that “… words are often easy and implementation is extraordinarily difficult. Implementation that is not based on total respect, understanding and preparedness to work with Aboriginal people will continue to make very modest progress.”
Reconciliation SA National Apology Breakfast
ECA SA sponsored three members and an Indigenous colleague as a guest to the 9th Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations Breakfast in Adelaide on 13 February 2017. Three Branch members provided the reflections below.
“It was a great privilege to attend the 9th Anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations Breakfast. At the event we heard from some survivors of the Stolen Generations, telling their stories about their childhoods and their life pathways, conveying an immense sadness tinged with hope and humour. There was also a reminder of the ongoing hurt that is occurring for the descendants and extended family members of the Stolen Generations. Selected footage of the second series of the First Contact television series was shown with its emphasis on educating the non-Aboriginal population about the realities of our country’s dark history. It made me think about the understanding and action that is needed for reconciliation, and the importance of open-mindedness and challenge for new learning in the face of complacency from some and outright denial by others. Throughout the breakfast a recurring question was “What will we be able to celebrate this time next year as we mark the 10th anniversary of the Apology?” This surely is a pertinent question for all us to keep in mind in our work in early childhood as we move towards that important milestone and beyond. Thank you ECA SA for organising a table and supporting members’ attendance.”
“I would like to thank ECA for the opportunity to attend the Reconciliation Breakfast. I found it to be a really moving experience particularly hearing the stories from people who had experienced the atrocities of being placed in institutions. I was shocked at what these poor children had to deal with. Not only losing all sense of family but then being beaten and chained for trivial behaviours was quite appalling and made me very emotional. I am truly sorry for what they were subjected to and can’t understand why it took so long for anyone to acknowledge their suffering and apologise.”
“I was humbled by the bravery of the Survivors of the Stolen Generations as they shared their courageous stories at the Breakfast gathering to commemorate the 9th Anniversary of the National Apology. The journey of healing from the repercussion of such an atrocity is a long one and for my part I am resolute to work with others to find ways to acknowledge and place meaning of the Apology into everyday practice with our Children, Families and Communities. Thank you for the opportunity to represent Early Childhood Australia.”
In the 20th year since the “Bringing Them Home Report 1997” it is incumbent on all Australians to remain open to the effects of past government policy and practice on the Aboriginal community.
“Through acknowledgement of the wrongs of the past, we can begin to heal and build a future where the people of Australia walk together with reverence and unity.”
Margaret Trembath Scholarship
The ECA SA Branch was excited to offer the Margaret Trembath Scholarship in 2016. The scholarship, to the value of $20,000 (which is available to support research in young children’s learning, development and wellbeing) was awarded to a research team from Gowrie SA. The team, led by Kate Stone, is undertaking a research project titled Children are capable decision makers in natural learning environments: The use of benefit-risk assessments for strengthening children’s capacity to manage risk associated with nature-based learning. This project aims to demonstrate the value of the ‘benefit-risk assessment’ as a tool for supporting three- to six-year-old South Australian children to manage risks that are associated with natural learning environments within their community, as well as building families and educators’ acceptance of children’s engagement with nature-based learning.
News of members
In November, the Branch mourned the death of long standing member and Branch Vice President Andrea McGuffog OAM. A former State President (1995–1997), National Board Director (1997–2005) and ECA representative on the National Children’s Services Forum (1997–2011), Andrea was highly respected and inspired many in ECA and the early childhood field. In 2006, Andrea received a NIFTeY Excellence in the Early Years Award and in 2014 she was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for service to the community, particularly early childhood development. Many ECA members and the National President attended a memorial service for Andrea in Adelaide. A generous, kind and supportive member, Andrea will be sadly missed.
Following the resignation of Pam Linke, the Branch acknowledged Pam’s active contribution to the work of ECA SA over many years. Pam held almost every position including President, Vice President and SA National Director. Pam willingly supported branch members and participated actively in branch meetings, executive committee meetings, and represented ECA SA on a range of inquiries and committees. She was an active contributor to ECA SA newsletters and other ECA publications. Many of these publications are now considered as standard, required documents within early childhood services.
AGM November 2016
At the AGM held in December, Italia Parletta, State President, reflected on the priorities undertaken by the Branch during the year and highlighted successful activities on reconciliation, advocacy, play and pedagogy, children in detention and refugee settlement. National Board Member Kate Ryan conducted the election of the Branch Executive Committee and Office Bearers. This was followed by a presentation from guest speaker Ann Marie Hayes, Executive Director, Statewide Services and Child Development (SSCD) of the Department of Education and Child Development, on the priorities and future directions for SSCD.
Committees with Branch Representation
The state government and other key decision makers regularly seek our involvement in reference groups, and our opinions on projects and programs for South Australian children and families.
Currently the SA Branch is represented on the following committees:
- National ECA Reconciliation Advisory Group (Uriel Whipp)
- Supporting ECA Networks Reference Group (Margaret Sankey)
- The Committee for the Lillian de Lissa and Jean Denton Memorial Trusts Committee (Rosemary Green)
- Ministerial Advisory Committee on Children with Disabilities (vacant)
- Early Childhood Reference Group – Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – Teachers Registration Board – Future Directions (Gerry Mulhearn)
- Council of Education Association of SA –CEASA (vacant)
- University of SA – Programs’ Advisory Group (Tess Harford)
- University of SA Advisory Committee – Kate Ryan (Nominated)
- Everyone Benefits Campaign (Italia Parletta)
- NQS Group (Joan Gilbert)
- SA Collaborative Childhood Project (Joan Gilbert/Italia Parletta)
- Children’s Week Group
|Vice President||Rosemary Green AM|
|SA National Director||Kate Ryan|