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Every year, National Reconciliation Week takes place from May 27 to June 3. This period provides Australians with an opportunity to gain knowledge about our collective histories, cultures, and successes. It’s also an opportunity for us to reflect on how we can further reconciliation throughout the communities of Australia. One avenue for doing this in an impactful way is with these early childhood National Reconciliation Week activities for toddlers.

In remembering the successful 1967 Referendum and the High Court Mabo decision, the commemoration of National Reconciliation Week is fixed on the same dates each year; May 27 to June 3. At Children’s Ground, we’ve put together some of our top ideas for childcare National Reconciliation Week activities for preschool.

Children’s Ground are hoping young people from all walks of life learn to become involved in National Reconciliation Week.

Greeting and Acknowledgement of Country

This involves recognising the significance of land to First Nations people, and our enduring connection to it. Examine the importance of critical vocabulary in Indigenous cultures, such as ancestors, Elders, spirits, community, courage, strength, integrity, values, creation, respect, nurtured and traditional lands.

Encourage the toddlers to learn some words in the local First Language and explain the history of Country they are on. You can arrange for a Traditional Owner to offer a Welcome to Country to guests on their land. A Welcome to Country involves a fee out of respect for the Elder or Traditional Owner’s time and cultural expertise.

Alternatively, you can present an Acknowledgment of Country as a gesture of respect for Traditional Owners, and the continuing connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the land.

National Reconciliation Week is fixed on the same dates each year; May 27 to June 3.

Organise a Reconciliation Morning Tea among families

You can create or prepare dishes using traditional bush tucker and Native ingredients, such as kangaroo, damper, lemon myrtle, quandong or other spices. This food can be shared during the morning tea. If possible, invite an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Elder to join the children for a Welcome to Country, discussion, and cooking together. A Welcome to Country involves a fee paid to the Elder or Traditional Owner out of respect for their time and cultural authority.

Gather with relatives, acquaintances, and members of the larger community to savour a morning tea of these traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ingredients. Discuss the materials utilised in preparing the meals and the ways they were gathered, collected, and made ready for cooking. Discuss the similarities and distinctions between these dishes and those we typically consume.

Immerse Children in Indigenous Culture

Perhaps one of the best ways to expand children’s knowledge about Indigenous culture is to invite an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Elder to share historical and culturally significant stories. Around the continent, there are distinct and diverse stories told by each First Nation, such as Eaglehawk and Crow, Emu and the Jabiru, How the Water Got to the Plains, Illawarra and the Five Islands, and Red Waratah, which never fail to leave a lasting impression on children.

Alternatively, you can show animated videos of First Nations Dreaming stories in classrooms or homes. Examples include Girawu the Goanna, Tiddalick the Frog, The Rainbow Serpent, Biladurang the Platypus, How the Kangaroo got its Pouch, and Wayambeh the Turtle. These videos are an excellent way to captivate children while expanding their knowledge of First Nations history and culture.

Children’s Ground – A First Nations organisation, with a First Nations approach

Try some of these National Reconciliation Week 2023 activities for toddlers this year. Our mission is to create change for future generations, by changing the status quo and uplifting our First Nations knowledge systems. This National Reconciliation Week, Children’s Ground is inviting your school, community group or organisation to take action with us and host a ‘Wear It Yellow Day’. When you donate, you are funding our community-led approach to changing the future for First Nations children. Are you ready to Wear It Yellow?

About the author

Statement by Arrernte leaders and families of Children’s Ground and Lhere Artepe Aboriginal Corporation
— Posted on 15 May 2023