Indi Kindi making progress in Closing the Gap, Deloitte finds
The Sector > Quality > In The Field > Indi Kindi making progress in Closing the Gap, Deloitte finds

Indi Kindi making progress in Closing the Gap, Deloitte finds

by Freya Lucas

May 21, 2024

Indi Kindi, the on Country program which supports Aboriginal children birth – five years of age, is having significant impacts on the educational, health and social outcomes for the children involved, a new evaluation from Deloitte Access Economics has found. 


Established in 2012 by Indigenous children’s charity Moriarty Foundation, Indi Kindi is equipping a generation of First Nations children with tools to break cycles of disadvantage.


The program is delivered free-of-charge to families in the remote Aboriginal communities of Borroloola, Robinson River, Tennant Creek and Mungkarta in the Northern Territory. 


“Low attendance rates of early years services by Aboriginal children in remote areas remains a significant issue and these children who stand to gain the most, receive the least,” Moriarty Foundation CEO Joanna Shulman explained.


“Over 10 years Moriarty Foundation has developed a solution that brings together best practice pedagogy with the Aboriginal worldview to harness the cultural and cognitive assets of young Aboriginal learners to transform their early years development.”


The evaluation project led by Deloitte Access Economics was able to demonstrate how Indi Kindi is leading the way in providing an early years solution for Aboriginal children that engages families, improves developmental milestones and global school readiness, positively impacts health and wellbeing, and fosters community connection and development. 


A key finding of the evaluation were the impacts Indi Kindi has on the educational outcomes of First Nations children in the remote community of Borroloola in the Northern Territory. 


When Indi Kindi began in Borroloola in 2012, 75 per cent of children were developmentally behind their peers on commencing school. Now, more than ten years later, this figure has fallen to under 35 per cent as a direct result of the presence of Indi Kindi in the community. 


“Indi Kindi is a program that has been designed to see infants and children thrive,” the report authors note. 


“It is a program that has been designed with the view towards seeing these thriving children go on to become thriving teenagers and thriving adults. Throughout school, these children are further supported through the complementary program John Moriarty Football.”


The unique methodology of Indi Kindi, which blends traditional cultural methods with established Western constructs, was viewed as being “an exemplar in the early years sector for Closing the Gap for Indigenous children,” by Deloitte Access Economics. 


“When the features of Indi Kindi are compared against the features of early years programs known to be associated with the realisation of outcomes, it is revealed not only that there is close alignment but that in many respects Indi Kindi is an exemplar,” authors note. 


“Indeed, there are few, if any, examples of single programs that embody the features of leading practice in a remote Indigenous context as comprehensively as Indi Kindi.” 


Key findings of the evaluation


  • Since Indi Kindi started, the share of vulnerable children in Borroloola fell from 74 per cent in 2012 to 42 per cent in 2021.
  • Borroloola has strong preschool attendance compared to other communities, supported by a deliberate transition approach employed by Indi Kindi. 
  • Indi Kindi is associated with direct developmental and educational benefits and a soft entry point into preschool and school. 
  • Healthy practices are embedded in the everyday delivery of Indi Kindi, driving health literacy in the early years, and lowering the prevalence of chronic and other health conditions.
  • Indi Kindi provides fulfilling and meaningful employment opportunities for Aboriginal women. 100 per cent of the educators delivering the program are local Aboriginal women. They are all qualified or studying for nationally recognised qualifications. 
  • Indi Kindi supports families to have flexibility and agency in how they choose to engage with the program.
  • By placing children at the centre, Indi Kindi is able to have wide ranging impacts on Borroloola, including the intergenerational transmission of culture. A Community Advisory Group made up of local elders ensures cultural leadership.
  • Most children in Borroloola benefit from attending Indi Kindi and attend flexibly according to the needs and choices of their families. Over 80 per cent of children in Borroloola school have attended Indi Kindi in some capacity. 
  • Indi Kindi has delivered consistently and flexibly in Borroloola amid inconsistent funding and changing needs. 
  • Indi Kindi embodies best practice features across a range of domains, tailored to the context of Borroloola. 


Indi Kindi’s sector-leading, culturally-embedded learning on Country model ensures young Aboriginal learners thrive. To learn more about Indi Kindi please see here, or follow Indi Kindi on Facebook. 

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