Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and the activities developed by our staff throughout our organisation acknowledge that we all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation and shaping a better future for all Australians. Our commitment to supporting and promoting Reconciliation is embedded in a range of activities and practices across Communities@Work:
Launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan (10 November 2020)
Communities@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@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@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 Centre had 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@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@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@Work Richardson Childcare and Education Centre were successful in receiving a 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 a bushfood garden for the children to explore, giving the children another 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 for the 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@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 learning resources for staff and clients to use.
- Established an internal Indigenous Training Program in partnership with Habitat Indigenous Personnel (Feb 2014).
“Love Communities@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@Work fellow educator