Contribution from Al Fricker
Today marks an important day in the Australian calendar, National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day, and more information about this day can be found here: https://aboriginalchildrensday.com.au/
This year has been challenging for all of us and no less so the children who have been impacted by the global pandemic. Beyond the significant disruption and tragedy that this pandemic has caused, this year has also been a mixed year for First Nations children in Australia. A positive has been the new Closing the Gap targets that were announced earlier in the week. The new targets mean that now the government will have a focus on the birth weights of Indigenous babies, access to Early Childhood Education, tracking infant and toddler development, housing overcrowding, youth detention, and numbers of First Nations children in out of home care among other targets. These are positive steps, but the true test will be to see if any of these measures begin to change with the new government strategy.
A negative of this year, and one that I hope is not a reflection of the future success of the new Closing the Gap strategy, is the refusal to lift the age of criminal responsibility in Australia from 10 years old to the UN recommended 14 years old. Last month, the Council of Attorneys-General of Australia met and decided that incarcerating 10-year-old children (the majority of whom are First Nations) could continue for at least another 12 months. This is a great injustice and is something that needs to change. More information can be found here about the #raisetheage campaign and how to help make a change to these laws. https://www.raisetheage.org.au/
For some of you with children, this year will have consisted of months of remote learning and this has no doubt proven to be a huge challenge. For others, this year has meant increased levels of isolation, uncertainty, and concern for the wellbeing of those severely impacted by the pandemic. For all of us, despite the challenges, we are in education for no other reason than to support the growth and development of children so we may all enjoy success in the future. Below are some resources that you can use with your own children, or alternatively something you can put in your ‘bag of tricks’ for teaching when teaching is no longer remote.
Here are a few resources that include a recipe for Damper and two easy to make at home activities that could be replicated in an ECE setting. There is also included a really lovely episode of Play School where they have dedicated the episode to Acknowledgement of Country, and a link to an animated series Little J and Big Cuz which is available on ABC iView.
I have also included a link to the Victorian government website that provides an extensive list of organisations and resources that you can get involved in should you choose.
Finally I would like to acknowledge my colleague Elise’s help in compiling these resources and I would like to wish you all a very happy and safe National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.