One of the greatest areas of growth under Marrung 10-Year Plan (2016-2026) has been the enrollment and participation of Koorie learners in kindergartens.
Statistics have shown a steady increase of Koorie learners entering the education pathway and the enrollment percentage of 94% is a fantastic indicator that Kindergartens are becoming more adaptable and inclusive.
The Koorie Kids Shine campaign along with the work of the VAEAI Early Years Unit and the Koorie education workforce has made a big impact with kindergartens becoming more accessible.
“The current campaign in partnership with the Department of Education has assisted in developing the Koorie Kids Shine campaign, which has really helped Koorie families become more familiar with the fact that their children are entitled for 15 hours of free kinder and will be supported” said Early Years Coordinator Kim Powell.
“The information of Koorie Kids Shine being promoted at forums, meetings and through our platforms has helped families to better understand the assistance available.
The workforce is also doing fantastic work to assist in enrolling and making sure Koorie kids are participating in early years learning and getting kids into kinder. It’s helped immensely in closing the gap in participation between Koorie and non-Koorie learners.” Said Powell
Another key factor of developing culturally inclusive Kindergartens is driven by VAEAI’s professional development sessions hosted by Aunty Esme Bamblett.
“The objective of the professional development sessions is to help teachers and schools understand how to be more inclusive of Koorie culture and how to engage community. Over the past five years we’ve done well over 60 sessions, within those sessions we encourage teachers not to be scared in approaching Koorie culture,
“We have been able to promote Aunty Esme as a well-respected and knowledgeable resource when it comes to integrating Koorie culture into kindergartens. Given her experience in the area there is a great connection and she really is encouraging Early Years educators to not be scared and give things a try.
“We’re finding that Early Years educators are leaving our sessions feeling more confident confident knowing how they can be more inclusive.” Added Powell