On Saturday our educators participated in a day-long professional development meeting at the Centre. There were many items on the agenda, but one topic seemed to promote especially passionate discussion. We reflected on the current state of Reconciliation at My Story – and Australia in general. We talked about the historical facts, life experience, equity and equality. The educators are very excited to start engaging with our ‘RAP’ Actions.
After gathering and carefully considering all of the feedback from this discussion, we are proud to present our Vision for Reconciliation…
My Story – Experiential Early Learning is committed to contributing to the Nation’s journey towards reconciliation. We believe that through the education of our young children Australia will truly ‘Close the Gap’.
‘Reconciliation’ as a concept can mean different things to different people – influenced by their life experiences, cultural background and political views. The educators, families and children have voiced diverse views on various platforms, but some themes or phrases are recurrent; acknowledgement of the past, tolerance, inclusion and meaningful change institutionally.
These steps towards reconciliation echo the 5 dimensions identified in the ‘State of Reconciliation in Australia’ report. Without tolerance there can be no unity, without acknowledgement there can be no historical acceptance, without inclusion there is no improvement to race relations or equality, and without institutional integrity we cannot embed any sociological change.
As a community, My Story stakeholders are prepared to meet challenges we may face when undertaking this journey. The Sate of Reconciliation Report confronts us with the fact that only 30% of the general community socialise with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We understand that we need to invest in educating ourselves before we can facilitate change in the younger generation.
We also need to reflect on our own biases, challenge them, and become strong enough in our belief system to sensitively but assertively advocate for our reconciliation convictions. As espoused in our sector’s code of ethics, it is upon us to strive specifically towards equality in education and health outcomes for every Australian. In modern Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders experience a 60% year 12 completion rate (vs 86.5%) and 10 year decrease in life expectancy.
As advocates for children, it is intrinsic to our pedagogy that we uplift and support self-determination in groups in our society with a quieter or minority voice. Although a minority voice, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is, and should be, recognised as a shared national identity.
Management, Families and Educators will be building connections that will enhance, enrich and fuel our sphere of influence. We look forward to engaging with the Elders of our local community, businesses that support the reconciliation vision, and experts in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture.