Culturally Competent Children

 Australia has one of the most diverse multicultural landscapes in the world with the 2011 Census revealing that almost one quarter of the Australian population were born overseas. As young and diverse as our country is, we are also home to the longest living culture in the world.

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For more than 80,000 years Aboriginal culture has been an essential element of the great southern land that is Australia. As it is such a significant part of Australian culture it is very important that we are able to include the culture in the lessons we teach our children. By including indigenous studies we are not only paying tribute to the ancestors of our land but also furthering our children’s understanding of being and belonging.

Cultural competence is an essential part of the Early Years Learning Framework supported by the following Principles: secure, respectful and reciprocal relationships, partnerships, high expectations and equity and respect for diversity.

In order to incorporate this key practice in everyday life, ensure that your child feels a part of their community and is aware of our country’s indigenous heritage there are several activities that you can take part in:

  • Celebrate indigenous events like NAIDOC week
  • Buy indigenous art, flags, puzzles or books
  • Encourage your children to attend workshops with indigenous performers and artists
  • Plant a tree to signify a special date on the indigenous calendar
  • Play traditional games
  • Listen to indigenous music
  • Create Aboriginal style art
  • Use Aboriginal words in everyday conversation e.g. to replace animals in nursery rhymes
  • Read Dreamtime stories
  • Create instruments like boomerangs or shakers using recycled resources
  • Indigenous dress ups

Participation in these types of activities and experiences can assist your child to develop ‘cultural competence’. Cultural competence encompasses:

  • Being aware of one’s own world view
  • Developing positive attitudes towards cultural differences
  • Gaining knowledge of different cultural practices and world views
  • Developing skills for communication across cultures

To help us recognise and celebrate indigenous culture this month, ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’ or NAIDOC Week will be celebrated from the 6th – 13th of July. This week’s purpose is to celebrate the achievements, history and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and will help educate your children about the world around them.

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