Katoomba Leura Preschool is a service which is deeply committed to cultural safety
Katoomba Leura Preschool, located on land of the Gundungarra and Darug people, is a preschool which is deeply committed to providing a culturally safe space for Aboriginal children and their families.
The community preschool is one of 50 early childhood education services across New South Wales to receive funding under the 2021 Community Grants Program, supporting the service to deliver targeted initiatives to increase participation and access for Aboriginal children in their community.
Creating an environment of cultural safety, Early Childhood Teacher (ECT) and Educational Leader Catherine Sansom said, was a critical component to ensuring the attendance and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
“Families know we provide a space where their children can thrive, learn and are supported,” she explained.
“Supporting our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children starts with us as educators, in what we value and believe. As educators we have been supported to undertake a large amount of professional learning through various programs on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture, worldviews and ways of knowing.”
The practices of the preschool, along with its curriculum, reflect the views of respected Aboriginal scholar Tyson Yunkaporta who notes that children “should learn through culture, not just about culture.”
“Our service values First Nations history and culture, and we signal that we are a culturally safe space to the broader community through these visual installations,” Ms Sansom said.
One of the ways this is achieved include a mural and riverbed space which was created as part of the preschool’s Reconciliation Action Plan, by artist and Darug woman Leanne Tobin.
“It has been satisfying for me to see the positive response from our preschool community and the broader impact our actions are having on our parents and families,” she added.
The preschool will use the community grant funding for a range of initiatives at the preschool including further professional development for educators, installing a bush tucker garden and further mural artworks to be created by Ms Tobin.
“Our work so far has brought our community together and created more awareness of connecting to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. As a community-based preschool this funding is a valuable opportunity,” said Katoomba Leura Preschool’s Director Alison Staniford.
More information on the Community Grants Program can be found on the NSW Department of Education’s early childhood education homepage.
The image used in this piece is The cockatoo mural, Ngayiri Budjeri Gumada (Bringing Good Spirit), by local artist and Darug woman Leanne Tobin.
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