SPK ochre painting on bark

Reconciliation at kinder

Summerhill Park Kindergarten recognises that children’s connection to their community is essential to their sense of belonging, and that kindergarten plays a key role in cultivating relationships within the wider community. Over the past two years, the kindergarten Committee of Management has identified the need for the kindergarten to strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families living in the local area— and that this relationship building is a priority for our service.

Summerhill Park Kindergarten now has a Reconciliation Action Plan  (RAP) — launched during NAIDOC Week 2014. One of the first steps in creating the RAP was to endorse a RAP vision statement for the kinder.

Summerhill Park Kindergarten RAP vision statement

Vision: Our vision is to visibly respect and acknowledge the unique connection that Aboriginal people have to the land on which our kindergarten is situated and to build genuine, respectful relationships with all children and families who attend our service.

Values: Summerhill Park Kindergarten values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture and the contribution that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities can make to the kindergarten and wider community.

Objectives: We are committed to; gaining a deeper understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and learning; reflecting that knowledge at all levels of our service; improving access to our service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families and developing genuine, respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities for the benefit of all children and families in our kindergarten community.

SPK engaged with Reconciliation Australia – www.reconciliation.org.au – for guidance and support on the development of the RAP.

For further information on the development of Summerhill Park Kindergarten’s Reconciliation Action Plan, please contact our RAP Officer via email RAP@summerhillparkkinder.org.au

What is a RAP?

Reconciliation is the process of strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians for the benefit of all Australians. The Kindergarten RAP is a plan that documents what the service can contribute to the reconciliation process in SPK’s sphere of influence. The plan identifies areas of action for a whole-of-service response to reconciliation. For example some actions might be specific to the CoM Executive, broader CoM or educators and all actions are placed in the reconciliation framework of Relationships, Respect and Opportunities.

Why?

SPK works towards cultivating relationships with the wider community and believes that community connection is essential to children’s sense of belonging. SPK acknowledges that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities provide a valuable contribution to the broader community. The kindergarten recognises that by developing respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander families, communities and organisations, we will gain knowledge about how to be more accessible to all children and families in our wider community, enrich the kindergarten program by incorporating Indigenous perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of how to be inclusive of and responsive to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.

How?

By identifying achievable actions that connect SPK with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and organisations, we will be creating relationship building opportunities for both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families and other children and families within the kindergarten community. A starting point might be including actions such as; learning about the traditional owners of the Boroondara area and the key Indigenous services and organisations to connect with; incorporating Indigenous perspectives into the educational program such as learning about traditional food sources or ‘bush foods’ that grow in the area; inviting an Aboriginal Elder to visit the kindergarten to share their knowledge of the local area; identifying Professional Development opportunities for educators around including Indigenous perspectives within the educational program; developing the SPK Equity and Inclusion Policy and celebrating key Reconciliation events such as Reconciliation Week.

Acknowledgement of Country

Summerhill Park Kindergarten Acknowledges the people of the Kulin Nations, the traditional owners of the land on which we meet tonight, and pays respects to their elders both past and present.

Why we have an Acknowledgement of Country before our meetings

An Acknowledgement of Country is a way of showing awareness of, and respect for, the traditional Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander owners of the land on which a meeting/event is being held, and of recognising the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to their Country.

Our kindergarten values strong and meaningful relationships with all families and communities within our area. These values are mirrored in our commitment to developing respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander families and communities.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is central to extending our knowledge of Aboriginal culture and heritage and including Indigenous perspectives which will feature at all levels of our kindergarten service.

As a first step, we use an Acknowledgement of Country as an opportunity to promote an awareness of the past and ongoing connection to place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

For further information, please download this Welcome to and Acknowledgement of Country fact sheet from Reconciliation Australia https://www.reconciliation.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/QA-welcome-to-country.pdf