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Strategies to encourage enrolment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in kindergarten

The purpose of this professional learning is to create an opportunity for teachers and staff to view and reflect on strategies to encourage enrolment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in kindergarten.

Suggested time for this task is 30 minutes.

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

Before viewing this audio visual segment, please download the document Reflecting on community and connectedness to record your ideas.

Lynne Ireland
Director/teacher, Boopa Werem Kindergarten

Boopa Werem Kindergarten is a double unit centre so we have four different groups, so we have up to 88 children at the centre. And 85%, probably, of the children are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children, and they come from all over Cairns. We're centrally located in Cairns. Children come to kindergarten already able to do many things and they have a lot of knowledge from home. It's really important to value that and see them as capable and competent learners and to be aware of what their life is like outside of the centre so that you can build those bridges and incorporate that into what you do at the kindergarten.

A lot of publicity that we do — or to promote enrolment in this centre —would be word of mouth through family connections, because we've been established for such a long time. But we also have links with other organisations: with the Wuchopperen Health Service and the Parent and Family Centre that is being established in Cairns. They run play groups and they distribute information about the kindergarten.

The fact that we have a bus service is very important, because a lot of the families that come to Boopa Werem don't have transport, so they come on the bus. And also the fact that our bus is out driving around with the name on the side of the bus is a way of letting people know that we're here, because some people ring up because they've seen the bus coming through their neighbourhood.

Marcia Mitchell
Torres Strait Islander (Boigu Island), Parent

I used the bus service at the beginning because we were a young family and the transport was a bit of a problem. Once I had bought our own car then we were able to bring our own children, thus allowing other families who were in need of using the transport to use it.

Leichan Williams
Bus assistant

My main job is working as a bus assistant on the Boopa Werem bus service. I'm like the teacher aide, the communication between parents and the teachers in the classroom. I pass the messages on … what they need to know. If parents need to pass messages on to the teachers, that's my role. It's important for our Indigenous families to have this service, because without it they wouldn't be able to bring their children to kindy.

Lynne Ireland
Bus assistant

We have a class learning journal that we keep that has a record of what kind of experiences have happened during that week, with some photos, and we might put drawings and things that the children have done in there. And that's for the children to look at, to revisit their learning and what's happened during the past weeks; for parents who come in to have a look at and see what we've been doing. Especially parents who don't often come in — their children may come on the bus — and they may come in for a special occasion and they can sit down and look through and see what's happened during the months that their child has been coming to the kindergarten.

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