National Reconciliation Week is a time for us to reflect on why it’s important to get children involved in reconciliation. 

Reconciliation is about strengthening the relationship between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, and bridging the gap towards equality. 

As part of Gowrie Victoria’s Reconciliation Action Plan, it’s important for our educators and trainees to nurture an understanding and appreciation of First Nations histories and cultures in new generations of children. We do this by embedding the First Nations perspectives into our programs. An experience that is adopted at some of our services is when children and educators gather around a fire pit where they recite an Acknowledgement of Country. 

At our Carlton North and Broadmeadows Valley services, children enthusiastically gather sticks from the yard to use for the fire pit, making them feel like they are truly part of the experience and connecting to Country. There are plenty of seats for children to sit around the fire, as both the children and educators recite the Acknowledgement of Country together. At both services, the children love to sing songs using local Indigenous words, before talking about the things that they are grateful for that the land provides them, such as the sun, the fire and the leaves.

Carlton North
Broadmeadows Valley

In Carlton North, what started as a yarning circle five years ago around a small campfire with mesh around it, grew into a larger experience as more children got involved and learnt about fire safety. The children even get to cook with the fire, having learned how to make damper, roast potatoes, even popcorn and veggie soup.

Carlton North Early Childhood Teacher, Jessie, spoke about a mother and her First Nations husband, who chose Gowrie for their child because of its connection to Country. “She said that her and her husband loved that Gowrie show deep connections to Indigenous cultures, and that they wanted their child to be a part of it and learn,” says Jessie.

Over at The Harbour in Docklands, children, educators, and families came together for a large Acknowledgement of Country where they also sang songs and danced. Educational Leader Philippa says that it’s important that children get involved in Reconciliation so they can understand from an early age who the original custodians of the land are.