We come together to connect and learn with our First Nations peoples. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples histories, cultures, knowledge and perspectives are an indelible part of Australia life, land and identity. As an inclusive, community minded and cultural lead organisation, we recognise the importance of embedding First Nations culture and history. We encourage you to speak with First Nations peoples, to learn more about the lands on which you live work, sing, meet, share and play.
Reconciliation Action Plan
Playgroup Victoria recently launched our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan. We recognise the important relationships Playgroup Victoria has with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and pay respect to those past, present and future. We are committed to healing, to connecting and to paying respect to First Nations histories. We encourage you to spend some time connecting with the land, listening to First Nations stories and acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples histories, cultures, art, communities and connection to land.
Playgroup Victoria’s Reconciliation Action Committee
For many months, Playgroup Victoria’s Reconciliation Action Committee has gathered, with the aim of making meaningful change. Playgroup Victoria is committed to embedding First Nations peoples’ histories, cultures, knowledge and perspectives in our work as an organisation, in our work with stakeholders and with playgroups. Reconciliation is an important part of our history. First Nations peoples and cultures are an indelible part of Australian life, land and national identity. At playgroup, we work with families and children. Many of those children already know our Acknowledgement of Country song and the land they are singing, dancing, learning, connecting and playing on. Our children are leading the way and together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples we are committed to building positive and reciprocal relationships, sharing a mutually respected path to the future.
Playgroup Victoria Reconciliation Ceremony – March 2022
Thursday the 17th of March 2022 was a momentous day. We launched our Reconciliation Action Plan. Not only that, it was the first time that the Playgroup Victoria staff had been together as a group for well over a year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Alongside visitors and First Nations guests, we gathered on the front lawn of the Playgroup Victoria office, on Woiworung Country. Beneath the tall gumtree, Uncle Bill Nicholson shared the history and stories of the Wurundjeri people of the area. He talked about his ancestors, the seasons and the meaning of words. Language, a profound link between us – to the land, plants, animals and seasons. We listened. We looked up to the wide sky carrying sparse clouds through the blue and we looked to the birds fluttering through the upper branches shifting in the breeze. We watched on as Uncle Bill conducted a very moving smoking ceremony for our office and all attending.
Together we reflected and connected with the land, First Nations histories and how we can come together to build meaningful relationships, supporting best practice and advocating for inclusive spaces that respect the history, culture and perspectives of First Nations peoples. Above all, we came together to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, ensuring the voices of First Nations peoples are respected, valued, heard and influential throughout the work that we do. There was a strong feeling of connection and community.
Playgroup Victoria’s Acknowledgment of Country Poster
Together with your playgroup, we encourage you to acknowledge the land you are on, to be present, to share First Nations stories and histories. Click the button below to download a copy of the poster.
Artwork by Sharon Slater
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Cultural Safety at Playgroup
Playgroup Victoria has created a one-page summary guide to Aboriginal and Torres Strait cultural safety at playgroup. Click the button below to download your copy.
Guide developed by Playgroup Victoria
Artwork by Sharon Slater
Together with your playgroup, learn more about First Nations stories and symbols. Download example of Aboriginal symbols below.
Sing along to Playgroup Victoria’s Acknowledgment of Country Song
An Acknowledgement of Country is a way of paying respect to the Traditional Custodians, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, on whose land we work and play. There are many ways to Acknowledgement Country. This version, encompassing a connecting between your body and the earth, uses a contemporary songline approach that has travelled far and wide over time.
Sing along with Louise
To find the country your playgroup meets on for your Acknowledgement of Country, look here: at the Map of Indigenous Map Australia (AIATSIS) In the song, for example, you can replace “Traditional people” with “Woiworrung people”.
There are several significant dates most Aboriginal people observe throughout the year and acknowledge.
The most well-known are listed below and should be acknowledged within playgroups, playgroup programs and activities.
January 26: Survival Day
Celebrated by other Australians as Australia Day. Some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have mixed feelings about celebrating this day; some consider it a day of mourning, and others use the day to mark the survival of their ongoing traditions and cultures.
Learn more here: https://www.australiaday.org.au/about-australia-day/reconciliation/
February 13: The Apology
A national day of celebration commemorating the formal apology to Australia’s Aboriginal Peoples by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.
The National Apology to the Stolen Generations was a result of a recommendation from The National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal Children from their Families. It highlighted the suffering of Indigenous families under the Commonwealth, state and territory laws.
Information and a video of the National Apology can be viewed here: https://www.aiatsis.gov.au/explore/articles/apology-australias-indigenous-peoples
May 26: National Sorry Day
A national day of commemoration held to honour the generations of Aboriginal children (the Stolen Generations) forcibly taken from their families under policies that continued into the 1980s. National Sorry Day is a day to acknowledge the strength of survivors and reflect on how we can all play a part in the healing process.
The Reconciliation website provides more information: https://www.reconciliation.org.au/national-sorry-day-2020/
27 May - 3 June: National Reconciliation Week
A week of national celebrations to build on the respectful relationships between Aboriginal people and other Australians. By acknowledging and participating in Reconciliation Week, it strengthens relationships with communities and increased the importance placed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures.
“National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.”
2 – 9 July: NAIDOC Week
National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week.
A national week of events to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated by Australians from all walks of life – everyone is invited to attend and participate.
The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
Learn more here: https://www.naidoc.org.au/
August 4: National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day
Children’s Day is an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of the children.
Playgroups can show their support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, as well as learn about the importance of culture, family and community play in the life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
Find resources, activities and information here: https://aboriginalchildrensday.com.au
Ideas to celebrate, promote or acknowledge these dates at your playgroup:
- Display the relevant posters in your foyer or entry area, leading up to the event
- Listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music
- Offer arts and crafts relating to the land, using materials from the environment
- Learn the meanings of local or national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names and words
- Read a story, using Australian animal puppets
- Learn about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags
- Hold a morning tea
- Make damper with the children
- Decorate clap sticks and use them in song
Deep Connectedness, Finding a Sense of Belonging
In conversation with Deb Lowah Clark, Koorie Education Coordinator, Wadawurrung Country
“The importance of reconciliation is about helping the historical discourse of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; helping it become a positive, celebratory, respected and recognised place, so our kids see themselves in their environments with their culture visible. So they can feel it in the way that they’re valued and treated and then they find their feet and they can be aspiring to be whoever they want. This is because there is a place for them to belong and they can belong in any space and any space will accept them.”– Deb Lowah Clark
Our Footprints, Our Culture
In conversation with Artist Sharon Slater
“I am a proud Kamilaroi woman from New South Wales by birth but proudly raised on the land of the Kulin people for 50 years of my life. I call Victoria home. What inspires me is being the mother of a child with special needs – it takes me to a calming place to think about her journey and my journey as a mother. It inspires me to create art that I can see and share with others.”- Sharon Slater
The stories and connections we find in art
In conversation with Artist Heather Kennedy
“The figures of the women in the painting represent the spirits of women, maintaining the strength and guarding the family.” “The sky is representative of ancestral spirits who are always there, looking over us. The gum leaves are representative of the land. Gumtrees have many important uses, especially for smoking ceremonies and cleansing.”
The importance of cultural safety
Playgroup Victoria has adopted and embedded the Child Safe Standards which are at the heart of our practice.
The Standards were updated in 2022 and state the following:
Child Safe Standard 1 – Organisations establish a culturally safe environment in which the diverse and unique identities and experiences of Aboriginal children and young people are respected and valued.
In complying with Child Safe Standard 1, an organisation must, at a minimum, ensure:
1.1 A child’s ability to express their culture and enjoy their cultural rights is encouraged and actively supported.
1.2 Strategies are embedded within the organisation which equip all members to acknowledge and appreciate the strengths of Aboriginal culture and understand its importance to the wellbeing and safety of Aboriginal children and young people.
1.3 Measures are adopted by the organisation to ensure racism within the organisation is identified, confronted and not tolerated. Any instances of racism are addressed with appropriate consequences.
1.4 The organisation actively supports and facilitates participation and inclusion within it by Aboriginal children, young people and their families.
1.5 All of the organisation’s policies, procedures, systems and processes together create a culturally safe and inclusive environment and meet the needs of Aboriginal children, young people and their families.
Inner Deep Listening and Quiet Still Awareness
Toys and Play Resources
There are many wonderful indigenous toys, books and play resources available, click on the link below to check out what is available.