Engaging the community within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander early education

You know, you’ve always got to surround yourself with people that are going to support you in your role. Well, especially in remote communities. You can only use the resources that you have in your community, and you need to utilise
them to the best of your own abilities on how you can engage with them, but also make them accountable. They’re in our community provider service, what can you do for us. That’s one of the reasons why I get community members involved in the program as I’m planning
too, because I don’t – certainly don’t put myself up there as I’m the Miss Know-It-All.
I don’t know everything, and it’s really good for the children to see that, there are other
knowledgeable people in the community that they can have access to. If they want to know something, it teaches them to go and ask, you know, those community people.
Sometimes we also get the community councillors. They sometimes come in for our parties at the end of the year, because it’s really good for the children to see their local leaders,
who they are. When people come into your centre, first of all, you know, you ask them what can you do for me lately. But establish those connections by finding where’s our common ground. So say, Weipa Community Care comes in. Our common ground is they might have the same clients as my parents. So we let them put their brochures
in here. And then there’s a ripple effect, you know.
Next minute they want to come and cook sausages on family Friday. I scratch your back, you
scratch my back, because at the end of the day, the common goal is supporting the families
and the kids. So we’ve got the health clinic, they do all
their screening down here. They provide us with resources, like hand washing, things
like that. But when we have our Under 8s or child protection march, they also come for a walk with us. So it shows the community all services need to be united. Put your hand up Jason, Smithy will give you a ruler. Good work. Just make sure that you guys are all here next week so I can play sport with you guys all right? Thanks Smithy. No worries big fella. They’re inspirations to the kids, you know.
These kids need to see that we need accountants, we need teachers, we need people working in the health field. We need shopkeepers, you know, we need cleaners, we need yards people. These are the people, you know, when working together, provides a safe environment for
the kids, the community, the parents. So when the kids see all that happening, you know, it broadens their horizon. We’re a remote community, we don’t see a lot of, you know, professions in here. So, you know, our plumbers, our carpenters, all that, these kids need
to see that one day it could be them. Partnerships, it’s the most important thing. You can’t do this by yourself.

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