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.
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.
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.