YWCA Canberra commits to Reconciliation and embedded and meaningful practice

YWCA Canberra commits to Reconciliation and embedded and meaningful practice

by Freya Lucas

April 22, 2022

Recognising that the journey toward a reconciled Australia is one which is ongoing the Children’s Services team at YWCA Canberra has engaged in critical reflection on its position of responsibility in this process, sharing the following insights. 

 

The reflection begins by noting that YWCA Canberra is on the land of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people. 

 

“Our vision for reconciliation remains one where the ACT and surrounding region truly acknowledges, pays respect to, and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, contributions, knowledge and histories,” information from the provider notes. 

 

“While we work towards reconciliation now, we are preparing future generations to continue this effort through our early childhood and school age education and care services.”

 

Reflecting on statistics which show that over 40 per cent of Australians don’t know the name of the country they live on, and only a third of non-First Nations Australians know what they can do towards reconciliation, the YWCA Canberra has made a commitment to changing these statistics moving forward. 

 

“We can, and must, be part of changing this,” the provider said. 

 

“Children within our children’s services will grow up knowing the names and histories of the countries they live, play and learn on. They will recognise that “reconciliation is everyone’s business” and understand how they can contribute to improving race relations.”

 

“Unlike many adults, they won’t have to un-learn and re-learn racist or exclusionary information they were taught in school. They will start from the point of pride and inclusion.”

 

Early education, the YWCA Canberra believes, can have a profound impact on creating more inclusive and knowledgeable adults and on decreasing the harmful effects of racism on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people.

 

Embedding reconciliation in ECEC

 

The YWCA Canberra takes a number of approaches to ensure that reconciliation is meaningfully embedded into its early childhood education and care (ECEC) programs. 

 

“Our childhood services all have age-appropriate acknowledgements of country and celebrate special occasions like National Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC Week and National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, but it also goes much deeper than that,” a representative explained.

 

Children’s learning across the services is linked to the Eight Aboriginal Ways of Learning, which means First Nations perspectives are included not just in content but also in the processes and environments.

 

“We also work with our local community, including bringing in local Elders to teach children Aboriginal histories and stories. And it’s not just about the children. We recognise that many of us grew up with unconscious biases, and we actively train our Directors and Program Managers in cultural awareness so they can pass this knowledge and respect on to the children in their services.”

 

To learn more about YWCA Canberra please see here

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