NAIDOC Week takes place this year from the 7th to the 14th of July.
The week is an acknowledgement of the histories, cultures and languages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the First Australians. While we acknowledge the First Peoples of Australia during NAIDOC Week, we also do this throughout the year.
Why NAIDOC Week?
Here in Australia, we are lucky to be a part of one of the most multicultural communities in the world. In fact, more than one in four Australians were born overseas, and we speak over 200 languages.
Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples represent the oldest and richest cultures on Earth. NAIDOC Week is one way to recognise the unique and enduring relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the lands now known as Australia. Their cultures, lore, ceremonies and connections to land remain strong.
In our centres, NAIDOC Week forms an integral part of our curriculum. When embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, educators are informed by the National Quality Standard and the Early Years Learning Framework.
Educators establish connections with Aboriginal Elders, community members and organisations within the centre’s local area so they understand and draw from local perspectives.
How We Acknowledge NAIDOC Week
Embedding practices will look different in each of our centres. Here are some things you may see:
- An Acknowledgment to Traditional Owners from the local area or region in the reception area, along with the display of an Aboriginal Flag and a Torres Strait Islander flag.
- In rooms, you may see representations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, perspectives and cultures. This may be through various resources including books, puzzles, music, imagery, textiles and dolls.
- In the outdoor space, you may see a yarning circle, totem poles or symbols, and native gardens.
- Educators may also draw on Aboriginal pedagogies (ways of teaching) to engage children in learning experiences such as using natural materials, making land links with local environments, and using symbols and images to represent concepts and natural elements.
- The involvement of an Elder or community member in curriculum planning and implementation may also be evident
- Children and educators may come also together at the beginning of the day to speak an acknowledgment to the Traditional Owners or Custodians of the lands on which the centre is located.
Combined, these practices support children to develop racial literacy. Now you might be asking, what is racial literacy?
Adults skill children around physical safety, early literacy learning and relationships with peers using age-appropriate language and examples. The same strategies are used to support children to develop racial literacy.
For children, racial literacy is a core life skill because they notice differences about people based on appearance, language, cultural practices and physical ability.
Racial literacy supports a balanced view of the world and how it is experienced by different groups of people. In conversations with children, adults can both challenge and affirm meanings around diversity and difference to support children’s understanding.
As you visit your centre during NAIDOC Week, speak with your educators about opportunities for your child to be involved in learning experiences that recognise and celebrate the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Dr Melinda Miller
Pedagogy and Practice Manager