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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: Case study

The purpose of this professional learning is for teachers to view and discuss strategies one service uses to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in kindergarten.

Suggested time for this task is 30 minutes.

  1. Download and read the document, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children: Case study
  2. View the video.

Brad Jarro
Member, QSA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education committee

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are advised that this video may contain names, images or voices of people who have died.

So that’s a good way of tracking how many observations we’ve got of each area and for each child. And it also makes us aware of any children that we might be missing that are just quietly getting on with their kindy day and we just haven’t collected any evidence of what they’re doing yet. So the tracking tool helps.

Lynne Ireland
Director/teacher, Boopa Werem Kindergarten

My name is Lynne Ireland and I'm the Director of Boopa Werem Kindergarten. Boopa Werem Kindergarten is in Cairns, and the name “Boopa Werem” means “little children”. One of the words is from a local Aboriginal language and the other one from [a] Torres Strait Island language.

Children come to the kindergarten using Aboriginal English, or Creole if they're from a Torres Strait Island background. And it's important, I think, that staff actually be familiar with those languages so they understand what the children are saying. We support the use of home language and also develop their ability to express themselves in Standard Australian English (SAE).

Jane Harris
Torres Strait Islander (Darnley Island), Kindergarten assistant

We try very hard to tap into our families, our indigenous families, to bring in an Aka — grandmother or mother, doesn't matter — or Athe is the grandfather, you know, to share their culture with us, to share their stories, and their songs and their dancing.

Raelene Laifoo
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, Parent, Committee member

It was great to be invited to come and participate with the children, teaching them — as a parent — an Island dance. That was great for the kids to come up to you later and say, “Oh that's the lady that was teaching us the wind dance”.

Lynne Ireland

We do have links with lots of other organisations in the community. With the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health service: Wuchopperen. They … Some health workers visit the centre at times to do hearing checks or run programs for the children around dental health. We visit Wuchopperen for celebrating Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day every year …

We have links with TAFE, through students coming here, or site visits for students in the Children Services Program who may come down from the Cape to do a block period of study in Cairns. And they come and visit the kindergarten to see what another service looks like. We have work experience students from high schools who come, and from the Flexible Learning Centre.

I think it's really important for all centres, whether they have Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children attending, to try to develop an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and embed those cultural perspectives in their program. Because they are Australia's first people and it's really important that all Australians understand the cultural context and the historical background of that

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