Communities at Work is continually looking at meaningful ways of incorporating Reconciliation activities into our everyday operations and services, and for supporting systemic change to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights. On this page we share some of these activities.
NAIDOC Week (July 2022)
NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for us to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and support and get to know our local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander communities through activities and events.
The 2022 theme is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!: encouraging us to move beyond just acknowledgement, good intentions, empty words and promises, and hollow commitments, and support and secure institutional, structural, collaborative, and cooperative reforms.
NAIDOC Week Resources
The ABC Education website has a great collection of useful Indigenous websites and resources to help yourself and others better understand and celebrate NAIDOC and Australia’s First Peoples.
NAIDOC Week Celebration Ideas
Visit the official NAIDOC Committee website for ideas on how you can celebrate NAIDOC Week.
National Reconciliation Week (May 2022)
During National Reconciliation Week—27 May to 3 June— we developed opportunities for our employees, volunteers and clients to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and encouraged them to “Be Brave. Make Change.” beginning with brave actions in their daily lives – where they live, work, play and socialise.
For instance, our Social Programs teams at our Gungahlin and Tuggeranong community pantries set up displays for our pantry clients and volunteers, gifted books about Aboriginal dreaming stories and Aboriginal celebrities to pantry members through donations we had received, and gave out gift baskets of tasty Indigenous inspired foods as lucky door prizes to two very happy pantry customers.
Community Street Art at Illoura (Mar 2022)
Our Illoura Child Care and Education Centre in Wanniassa has amazing new community street art. Check it out! Thanks to a partnership with local artist Steven Kennedy of Killara Art, and funding from the ACT Government Graffiti Program, we’re able to share a wonderful piece of Ngunnawal culture with our local community for many years to come.
Steven used the Illoura families and children as his inspiration for the design, saying the mural for him, was all about family and community. The artwork reflects families coming together in a meeting place (the childcare centre), with adults sharing their wisdom with the younger generation. The childrens’ handprints down the wall symbolises their growth and learning journey at the centre as they prepare to eventually go out into the brand new world, making new friends along the way.
Abacus Early Education and Care Centre’s outdoor artwork (Dec 2021)
Gordon Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) – Repainting the Dreamtime Snake
Our Gordon Out of School Hours Care students had a ton of fun recently repainting the Gordon Primary School Dreamtime snake. Check out the video below. Importantly, this painting project was also a great opportunity for our OSHC service to further build our connections with the community, school and country, and for the children to expand their classroom learning about Indigenous culture. The school snake was painted 20 years ago by the school students and staff to represent their connection to the Indigenous community and the Ngunnawal land. As the snake runs continuously through all the outdoor spaces, it connects the school together as one.
As the school’s OSHC we decided to be part of that journey and repaint some of the snake that has weathered over the years. We used Indigenous symbols and art to replicate in the snake. The children painted their own symbols and drew their own stories in the snake to raise awareness and connect further to the land and the Indigenous community.
NAIDOC in the North (Oct 2021)
This year’s NAIDOC in the North, a free annual family event to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through story, song, art dance and ceremony, has been postponed from July 2021 at Exhibition Park (EPIC) to 30 October 2021 due to COVID. This year’s theme is Heal Country.
NAIDOC Photo Competition (July 2021)
Congratulations to the winners in the photo competition, sponsored by CommunitiesWork.
While the judging for the main prizes has been done, you can still vote for the People’s Choice Awards in each of the two categories.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awards:
This award is open to anyone who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander and recognises unique perspectives of first nations people.
⭐ $500 Juried Prize
⭐ $500 People’s Choice Award
⭐ Children’s Award (Prize Pack)
Healing Country Supporter Awards:
This category invites entries from non-Aboriginal community members, supporting everyone to respect and honour Ngunnawal country.
⭐ $250 Juried Prize
⭐ $250 People’s Choice Award
⭐ Children’s Award (Prize Pack)
National Reconciliation Week (June 2021)
The theme for 2021 National Reconciliation Week was: More than a word. Reconciliation takes action. Move from safe to brave on issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This means more people need to speak up, ask hard questions and take action during and beyond National Reconciliation Week.
Acknowledgement of Country: Illoura Child Care and Education Centre (June 2021)
Learning to respect and look after the land we live and play on is an important step in our Reconciliation journey. The children and staff at our children’s services perform a daily Acknowledgement of Country each morning and share what they’re thankful for that day. Some centres, like Illoura and Appletree Child Care and Education Centres in Erindale, have even developed their own acknowledgement.
“Yaama Land, Yaama Sky, Yaama Me, Yaama Everyone
We would like to acknowledge and say ‘thank you’
to the Ngunnawal people.
We promise to look after the land, the animals and the people too.”
Reconciliation Activities Across Communities at Work (NRW 2021)
👣 We kicked off the week with a beautiful morning tea of bushfood-inspired coffees and foods, some created by our Galilee School hospitality students (loved that lemon myrtle cheesecake!! )
👣 Illoura Child Care and Education Centre invited us to their daily Acknowledgement of Country and created a lovely poster focusing on the importance of cultural diversity and acceptance.
👣 Our Family Day Care educators and playgroups visited the ‘First Australians’ exhibition at the National Museum and learnt important facts about the history of our country.
👣 Gordon OSHC (Out of School Hours Care) students partnered with Gordon Primary School on a painting project to refresh the Dreamtime snake weaving throughout the school grounds.
👣 Our northside Disability Program clients created a stunning Sorry Day artwork that will hang on their art wall to remind everyone to live, play and work together in harmony.
👣 Taylor Child Care and Education Centre went on a ‘bridge walk’ around their local oval and learnt about the importance of the original Sydney 2000 Harbour Bridge Walk.
Palmerston OSHC Celebrates Reconciliation (June 2021)
Yarning circles, clapping sticks, fact cards, handprint artwork, discussion cubes, word searches and a sand box for drawing personal stories using indigenous symbols. These were all part of a fun and educational week at our Palmerston OSHC (Out of Hours School Care) in June 2021, where the students thoroughly enjoyed planning and participating in activities that promoted their awareness and knowledge of Reconciliation.
Their activities were based around two of Reconciliation Australia‘s 20 suggested actions:
No. 5: “Create culturally safe places – Aboriginal and Torres strait islander peoples don’t always feel safe or welcomed in some places and have been historically excluded from many.”
No. 7: “Drive reconciliation in education – If you didn’t learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander cultures at school, make sure our kids do now”.
It was a great week at Palmerston OSHC and they are keen to continue participating in reconciliation activities weekly.
Launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan (Nov 2020)
Communities at Work launched our Reconciliation Action Plan across the organisation on 10 November 2020, during NAIDOC Week. We assembled and distributed ‘RAP Launch Packs’ which consisted of RAP documents, posters, Acknowledgement of Country cards and more. These packs were given out to all organisational areas including all our children’s services, lifestyles services, Galilee School, support services (food, clothing and accommodation programs), as well as organisational support and corporate teams. The launch was celebrated at the three Communities at Work main sites – Tuggeranong, Gungahlin and Weston Creek – while the rest of the organisation joined in virtually.
NAIDOC Week at our Children’s Services (8 – 15 November 2020)
Our Stirling Child Care and Education Centre incorporated the RAP launch and NAIDOC week at their monthly staff meeting on 10 November. They used the occasion to introduce the new Reconciliation Plan and discuss a plan for the service moving forward. At the service, they value community and recognise the first peoples each morning with an acknowledgment of the country and are also developing an inclusion garden that will greet visitors to the centre as they enter the service.
The children from Palmerston Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) and Palmerston OSHC Pre-school participated in various NAIDOC activities throughout the week, including yarning circles discussing the meaning of NAIDOC, exploring Aboriginal symbols in the sand, dot painting and damper. Children Eoghan (Kindergarten) from the Awabakal tribe (Hunter Valley) and Natalie (Year 4) lead the singing of Inanay with the Palmerston OSHC pre-school students, with Aboriginal clapping sticks.
NAIDOC in the North Event (8 – 15 November 2020)
Communities at Work supported the NAIDOC in the North event by Belconnen Arts Centre. We sponsored the Share Your NAIDOC video competition, offering great prizes for the most creative and passionate entry of the NAIDOC celebration – a gift voucher of $500 to put towards new Indigenous resources at their school or centre, as well as runners up prizes of $300 and $200 vouchers.
Dancing and Painting with Wirradjuri Echos (26 June 2020)
Children at our Taylor Child Care & Education Centrehad a hoot when the Wirradjuri Echoes visited to share their music and culture. The children loved listening to the myriad of stories and musical instruments, getting their arms painted and laughing with glee as they stomped around the room in a snake dance. It was a joyous way for the children to connect with the culture of the people on whose land they play.
Indigenous Outdoor Playspaces (21 June 2020)
The children at our Narrabundah Early Childhood Service saw their handprints come alive in a beautiful forest of Indigenous poles in their outdoor garden. A big thanks to Kristie Peters, a Wiradjuri woman and local artist, and a valued member of the Narrabundah Early Childhood School community, for guiding the children through this project.The handprints signify friendship and the strong sense of community, belonging and inclusion at the Service.
Reconciliation Day Bridge Walk (3 June 2020)
During Reconciliation Week, children across our early education and care centres learn about the significance of the first Walk for Reconciliation in 2000 when 250,000 people walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge in public support for meaningful reconciliation between Australia’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Each year our children and educators symbolically go on their own bridge walks – whether over humble bridges in their own centres or larger bridges in their communities. Watch below a video from our Richardson Child Care and Education Centre and join them on their 2020 bridge walk.
Reconciliation Day Activity Packs for Community (26 May 2020)
Communities at Work partnered with the ACT Government’s Community Services Directorate to assemble and distribute Reconciliation Day Community Activity Packs to the Canberra community. These packs were designed to promote conversation and foster a deeper understanding of our national story and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The packs were distributed to all our children’s services – but first, they had to be assembled by our Community Development team – watch our Behind the Scenes video below!
Educator Bushfood Tours (1 March 2020)
A group of educators were totally enthralled by a Communities at Work bush food excursion out to Jerrabomberra Wetlands. They learnt about the multiple medicinal and cooking uses of many native plants found around Canberra from knowledgeable facilitator Adam Shipp. They then shared their new bush lore with the children in their care, developing meaningful cultural awareness activities. The excursion was part of a range of educator professional development courses developed by our Centre of Professional Learning and Education.
Bush Tucker Garden with Woolworths Landcare Grant (30 Nov 2019)
Communities at Work Richardson Childcare and Education Centrewere successful in receivinga Woolworths Junior Landcare Grant for their Bush Tucker Garden project.They were one of 617 primary schools and early learning centres throughout Australia to receive a Woolworths grant to help grow our next generation of environmental champions. The project allowed the Centre to establish abushfoodgarden for the children to explore,giving the childrenanother perspective of Indigenous culture, while providing a fun and enjoyable experience. Richardson is just one of several Centres throughout our organisation to establish bushfood gardens to raise awareness of cultural diversity and sustainability.
Sorry Day Walk
In 2019, for the first time, our Galilee School participated in the Sorry Day Bridge Walk, which was a huge success and a positive experience for both students and staff. We even became the lead footage forthe local news! The event allowed our students to explore their art skills with production of a banner, develop an appreciation for cultural perspectives and an understanding of Australian history, and participate in a cultural event that they would otherwise not have had the opportunity to be part of.
Other Reconciliation Action Plan Activities:
In line with our Reconciliation Action Plan, Communities at Work has:
- Supported staff to attend National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week events.
- Developed a policy for Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country and perform these when relevant at meetings, activities and events.
- Provided cross-cultural training for staff and clients.
- Contracted a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Liaison Officer to assist with the development implementation of former RAPs.
- Participated in key First Nations events.
- Established bush tucker gardens to give back to the land.
- Invited Indigenous music groups to visit our centres to share their culture, music and stories.
- Read Dreamtime stories with the children.
- Held weekly yarning circles at our OSHC services.
- Took seniors to the First Nations Gallery at the National Museum.
- Developed strong relationships with our local Indigenous community.
- Purchased learningresources for staff and clients to use.
- Established an internal Indigenous Training Program in partnership with Habitat Indigenous Personnel (Feb 2014).
“Love Communities at Work! Special shout out to my fellow child care educator, Euthica, who spent every morning with little children that had no language yet, instilling the importance of our indigenous culture. I will never forget this women’s need to show our little ones the importance of multiculturalism and different cultures!”
– Avril Pitt, Communities at Work fellow educator