The important role early learning plays in the reconciliation process was the focus of a professional development workshop at USQ.
More than 40 early years educators from across the region travelled to the University’s Springfield campus to participate in the forum on Reconciliation and Intercultural Education.
It included a range of activities and presentations from several Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups.
The participants explored how our youngest learners can take their first steps in reconciliation through literacy, arts and Indigenous learning experiences.
USQ Lecturer (Early Childhood Curriculum and Pedagogy) and event co-organiser, Dr Eseta Tualaulelei, said that while early years educators are eager to teach reconciliation, they often lack the knowledge or confidence to translate it into practice.
“While there are resources available for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, the fear of getting it wrong is holding some educators back,” Dr Tualaulelei said.
“Our workshop provided a much-needed opportunity for early years educators to gain practical knowledge and a better understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures with the guidance of experienced Indigenous educators.
“Professional learning opportunities like this can help them feel empowered and supported to champion reconciliation through meaningful reconciliation initiatives.”
Dr Tualaulelei said early years educators played a critical role in preserving and promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language and culture.
“Early years educators have the power to shape young lives every day and incorporating Indigenous traditions into learning experiences can make a significant difference in the reconciliation process,” she said.
“Music, dance, painting, storytelling, crafts and bush foods are just some of the activities educators can use to teach children about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture.”
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USQ’s Jacqui MacDonald with Genevieve Aiono.