Port Macquarie Community Preschool have signed their first Reconciliation Action Plan codifying the preschool's plan to heighten children's awareness of local Birpai customs.
Bringing cultural perspectives into the classroom, the preschool has taken the deliberate step to bring elders and Birpai leaders into the school while also getting out in the community to attend events at the Birpai Local Land Council.
Megan Jones, managing director of Port Macquarie Community Preschool said the Reconciliation Action Plan is the first of its kind for a preschool in the area.
"We are seeing more and more schools adopt a plan like this one but in Port Macquarie we are the first to do it at a preschool," Ms Jones said.
"Our preschool has a long and proud history of celebrating Birpai culture with our children and over the last 12 months we have really examined our aims and goals around how we want that to continue.
"We are committed to building strong and respectful relationships with Birpai Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander local community and this plan will formally guide us in the processes of respectful acknowledgement and developing culturally appropriate policies and practices."
Ms Jones said the action plan is about strategising and implementing ways the preschool community can collaborate with the Birpai community.
"The plan ensures that we will have ongoing relationships with the Birpai community," she said.
"In our budget this year we actually have allocated money to use to celebrate reconciliation along with money to fund our educators being able to learn more about our local Aboriginal culture.
"We also have members of the Birpai community come in and talk to the children.
"We have had local Birpai musician Steve Donovan come and teach the children local dances and songs and Rhonda Radley will be coming in and working with the children teaching them local language.
"We have also just opened our Yarning Circle which is just another way we are bring Birpai culture into our preschool."
She also said the children have really embraced the cultural lessons.
"We deal with children when they are sponges and at this age they have no concept of racial differences and most of the time between genders.
"A mate is a mate when they are this young and by bringing local Aboriginal culture into our lessons we are teaching them to celebrate the rich local history of the Birpai nation."
Kelly O'Brien is a board member at the preschool and said it was wonderful to see the integration of Aboriginal culture in the school.
"It is really exciting that the preschool now has a Reconciliation Action Plan which just means that Aboriginal culture is part of the learning process for the young people at the preschool," Ms O'Brien said.
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