Asking the Experts. Indigenous Voices in Early Education and Care

Year: 2018

Author: Locke, Michelle

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008) and Belonging, Being and Becoming, The Early Years Learning Framework for Australia (Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations 2009) prescribe that Indigenous Knowledges and perspectives be included in Australian early education curriculum. The rational of such directives is to engage and support Indigenous families, in a manner that promotes non-Indigenous understanding and recognition of Indigenous peoples, with a view to strengthening reconciliation and improving outcome for Indigenous children. However a lack of confidence and capacity of a largely non-Indigenous early childhood educator cohort has resulted in either the absence or misrepresentation of Indigenous Knowledges and/or Perspectives. (Baynes 2016; Harrison & Greenfield 2011; Martin 2007; Nakata 2010; Santoro et al. 2011; Semann, Proud & Martin 2012). In response, this paper reports on the preliminary findings, that is phase one of a PhD project that seeks to engage the expertise of Indigenous educators and families to identify the most culturally appropriate and successful approaches to the inclusion of Indigenous Ways of Knowing. The first phase of this research involves engagement with Indigenous Educators who share and teach Indigenous Ways of Knowing in early education and care settings. This paper will address the needs of non-Indigenous educators, provide examples of effective practice of the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives, and highlight the value of ‘Country’ to education.