A Deadly week of Celebration
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Goodstart’s Deadly Week of Celebration for National Reconciliation Week

by Freya Lucas

June 07, 2024

Goodstart Early Learning services and team members from across the country enjoyed “a Deadly Week of Celebration” in honour of National Reconciliation Week, embracing the theme ‘Now More than Ever’ in its centres and support office. 


The annual celebration of National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is marked from 27 May to 3 June, allowing all Australian’s an opportunity to stop and reflect about their important role in Australia’s reconciliation journey, and the impact they have in shaping the next generation of Australians.


NRW for Goodstart was opened in the provider’s Meanjin (Brisbane) Office with a morning tea and speech from National Cultural Liaison Melody Ingra about the importance of reconciliation and the theme ‘Now More than Ever’. 


Those in attendance were reminded of the importance of being reconciliation allies and of reflecting on their personal and professional commitment to reconciliation.


Torres Strait Islander Cultural Liaison Peter Pilot-Wakaisu and Sissy Mattie also lead a group of Goodstarters through a Pan Damper Kaikai experience.

Sissy Mattie is from the island of Mabuiag which is located in the inner western cluster of Islands in the Torres Strait.  She is a member of the Torres Strait Islander community within Brisbane and proudly shares Torres Strait cultural perspectives through art, cooking and also traditional dancing and singing in her language dialect Kala Lagaw Ya.


Pan Damper is a staple in Torres Strait Islander cooking and is made combining self-raising flour, powder milk and water and then cooked in a pan over low heat.


On Wednesday 29 May, hundreds of team members from across the country participated in an NRW webinar hosted by National Cultural Liaison Melody Ingra and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Liaison Peter Pilot-Wakaisu, with guests Aunty Flo Watson, Tessa Keenan (General Manager – Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education) and Zoey-Ann English (Centre Director – Mount Louisa). 


Throughout the session participants reflected on Goodstart’s 10-year reconciliation journey, heard about the continued success of Goodstart’s partnership with Ngurupai, and gained practical strategies and advice to support further reconciliation progress and impact across the 654 communities in which they work.


The support office team also hosted a Wear it Yellow day in support of the Aboriginal-led organisation Children’s Ground, where attendees enjoyed a delicious Kapmuri lunch (Torres Strait underground cooking method) thanks to Bowie Solutions.


Goodstart services across Australia used NRW as an opportunity to embrace reconciliation, to keep learning, and to celebrate alongside children, families and communities.


Children at Goodstart Kenmore Princeton engaged with different activities including yarning circles, singing ‘Taba Naba’, First Nations Storytime and arts and crafts. The team also ‘dug deep’ for First Nations charity, Children’s Ground, hosting a Wear It Yellow Day.


The Team at Goodstart Oakhurst set up a variety of First Nations inspired learning environments for the children to engage in as well as hands-on experiences including weaving and a Sea of Hearts display. 

They recycled old cardboard boxes to make their Sea of Hearts display, children decorated their own hearts and held discussions about what NRW is, and what they know about First Nations people and culture. Families were also invited to decorate a heart at home to add to the centre’s display.


Goodstart Berowra celebrated the week with song and storytelling. They created a Stingray mural with all rooms participating in the project. The children also explored languages and symbols and First Nations bushtucker using Lemon Myrtle playdough and mixing in Ochre.


The team at Goodstart Mount Isa celebrated by extending on children’s learning around NRW, sharing Dreamtime stories, songs and movement, art and craft and had a focus on teaching about the history of Australia.


NRW was especially significant to the team at Goodstart Semaphore Park who celebrated their first Reconciliation Action Plan. 


The team set up a special ‘gathering place atrium’ – front and centre for children and families of the centre – with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags, authentic Aboriginal art appreciation and Aboriginal symbol recognition. 

Educators and leaders at Goodstart Logan Village invited their community to participate in the Sea of Hearts display, with contributions from local members, school children, families and educators participating in the display. 


The team have been standing out the front of the centre and sharing messages of reconciliation and discussing with the community what reconciliation means and how they can work towards reconciliation.


To learn more about NRW please see here. Learn more about Reconciliation at Goodstart here.

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