As passionate member of the SWAY team I believe learning about local Aboriginal culture and history in pre-schools and schools is paramount for all children in Australia. All children deserve a quality education where they feel socially and emotionally safe and can develop strong literacy skills in the early years of their life (0-8years). These skills help to provide children with the best opportunity to succeed in their future education.
I grew up on Darug Country and now live on Gurringai Land. I am Connected to Country and have deep respect for the Aboriginal Ancestors of this Land. My teaching experience has included working in Western Sydney in early learning centres, pre-schools, kindergartens and K-10 schools. My teaching has been in mainstream classrooms, special education settings as a LAST and ESL teacher. Teaching at Stewart House School, enabled me to work closely with Aboriginal community members, children and families from all over NSW and I have been privileged to learn about their rich culture and history. I have been involved in collaborative whole school program development with Aboriginal Education Officers and executive staff to embed Aboriginal culture and history into respectful and engaging teaching and learning programs. I have also led the design and implementation of whole school social and emotional wellbeing programs. Recently I have been supporting beginning and experienced teachers with incorporating Aboriginal perspectives into their classrooms and connecting them with the local Aboriginal community to encourage collaborative program design and implementation.
Throughout my career in Early Childhood, I have been committed to providing a quality learning environment for young children. One of my main aims has been to provide young children with opportunities to maximise their potential and develop a foundation for future success in learning.
It is vital that respectful partnerships between children, parents and community are nurtured and supported.
Through my work at Royal Far West School it has been possible to work as a member of a team to develop and implement an Oral Language Programme (SWAY) that aims to improve language and literacy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in their early years. SWAY embeds local Aboriginal language in the early learning environment, and ensures that the cultural security and identity of young children is respected.
Observing the children engaging in the SWAY learning experiences inspires me on a daily basis. I look forward to mentoring and supporting educators and young children in a variety of settings and to foster a love of lifelong learning.
I have always been fascinated by language and literacy. My passion for language has lead me to teaching English to high school students, students with severe reading difficulties and English as a second language as well as students from preschool to year 12 with hearing impairments in both support units and mainstream settings. I have carried out research into the acquisition of oral language skills in students with hearing impairments. I am a passionate believer in the power of language to define who we are, the rights of people to have their mother tongue respected and celebrated and the crucial importance for all children to be given the opportunities and language skills to succeed in all educational settings
As a Speech pathologist, I have always loved working with children within their educational settings. I love the ‘vibrancy’ of preschools and schools and enjoy working closely with educators to help support children with communication difficulties. This has fuelled my interest in the link between oral language development and literacy outcomes.
Since working on the initial SWAY project at the Royal Far West School in 2006, I have learnt a lot about Aboriginal Languages, culture and history and feel privileged to have worked with so many dedicated and inspiring people.
With a love of innovative technology, I am committed to addressing the inequities that exist in health and education for children living within rural and remote communities.
My family is from the Clarence River. The waters and the land nurtured us. We learnt from the land and waters and the yarns told by our elders. The Yaegl People have sustained local language which is so important to our sense of identity and belonging.
I believe the sharing of our stories needs to happen in the early years of children’s learning. Through sharing our stories our connection to place/Country will be sustained. I believe every child has the right to feel safe in their environment and develop a strong identity.
The SWAY program provides support for families. It strengthens relationships between families and the school so they can work together to provide best outcomes for the children. Working with the families to share local cultural knowledge in their everyday learning is important. The SWAY program has enabled us to look outside the square and change the way we look at teaching and learning.
The Aboriginal Education Officer has an important role in the education of children. We inspire and mentor teachers. We establish and maintain meaningful links with community. Our role enables us to be responsible with the legacy of our families and communities.
Our individual, family and ancestral stories are woven into the tapestry of Mother Earth and teach us how to listen and look after the land and waters. We need to work together to ensure a sustainable future.