In April and May we celebrate the Noongar season of Djeran and recognize National Reconciliation week. We are all part of our shared Australian culture and we take great delight in our place as early childhood educators to share and celebrate Australia’s Indigenous heritage and build a strong foundation of shared love, respect and caring.

This article covers the season of Djeran, The Rainbow Serpent dreamtime story, Reconciliation week at Kids College. 

Kids College is currently teaching about Djeran, the season of adulthood

In the southwest of Australia, the Nyoongar seasonal calendar includes six different seasons in a yearly cycle. These are Birak, Bunuru, Djeran, Makuru, Djilba and Kambarang. Each of the six seasons represents and explains the seasonal changes we see annually. The flowering of many different plants, the hibernation of reptiles and the moulting of swans are all helpful indicators that the seasons are changing.

As we are now in April, all of the rooms have started to incorporate Djeran into their learning activities, this is an ongoing project so get excited to see what each room has in store for the season of Djeran!

Autumn: April-May

Ant season.

Time to repair housing and shelter.

The lifestyle for the Nyoongar communities during Djeran

Djeran season at last sees a break in the really hot weather. A key indicator of the change of season is the cool nights that once again bring a dewy presence for us to discover in the early mornings.

The winds have also changed, especially in their intensity, with light breezes being the go and generally swinging from southerly directions (i.e. southeast to southwest). Many flying ants can be seen cruising around in the light winds.

Djeran is a time of red flowers especially from the Red flowering gum (Corimbia ficifolia), as well as the smaller and more petite flowers of the Summer Flame (Beaufortia aestiva). As you travel around the Perth area, you may also notice the red ‘rust’ and seed cones forming on the male and female Sheoaks (Allocasuarina fraseriana). Banksias start to display their flowers, ensuring that there are nectar food sources for the many small mammals and birds that rely upon them.

Traditionally, foods at this time of year included the seeds that had been collected and stored for treatment from the Zamia last season along with the root bulbs of the Yanget (Bullrushes), fresh water fish, frogs and turtles.

As the season progresses, the nights will become cooler and damper along with some cool and rainy days which also means that traditionally mia mias (houses or shelters) were now repaired and updated to make sure they were waterproofed and facing in the right direction in readiness for the deep wintery months to come.

The Rainbow Serpent Dreamtime Story

Long ago in the Dreamtime when the earth lay sleeping and nothing moved or grew, lived the Rainbow Serpent. Then one day the Rainbow Serpent awoke and come out from beneath the earth. Refreshed from her long slumber she travelled far and wide leaving winding tracks from her huge body and then returning to the place she had first appeared.

On her return she called to the frogs “come out!” The frogs came out slowly as their bellies were full with water which they had stored during their long sleep. The Rainbow Serpent tickled their stomachs and when the frogs laughed, the water spilled out all over the earth to fill the tracks of the Rainbow Serpent. This is how the lakes and the rivers were first formed.

With water, grass and trees began to grow which woke all the animals who then followed the Rainbow Serpent across the land. They were happy on earth and each lived and gathered food with their own tribe. Some animals lived in rocks, some on the vast plains, and others in trees and in the sky. The Rainbow Serpent made laws that they were all to obey but some began to make trouble and argue. The Rainbow Serpent said “Those who keep my laws will be rewarded; I will give them human form. Those who break my laws will be punished and turned to stone & will never to walk the earth again”. Those who broke the law became stone and were turned into mountains and hills and those who were obedient were turned into human form and were each given their own totem of the animal, bird or reptile from when they began. The tribes knew themselves by their totems – kangaroo, emu, carpet snake, and many, many more. So no one would starve, the Rainbow Serpent ruled that no man should eat of his totem, but only of other totems. This way there was food for everyone.

The tribes lived together on the land given to them by the Rainbow Serpent or Mother of Life and knew the land would always be theirs, and no one should ever take it from them.

Michael J Connolly
Munda-gutta Kulliwari
Dreamtime Kullilla-Art

Celebrate national Reconciliation week (RAP action 5)

What is National Reconciliation week?

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

The dates for NRW remain the same each year;
27 May to 3 June. These dates mark two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, which gave the Australian Government the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to include them in the Census; and the High Court Mabo decision, which saw the concept of terra nullius overturned. This year due to COVID Australia are observing national Reconciliation week from 8-15 November 2020.

Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

2022 theme for National Reconciliation Week is

‘Be Brave. Make Change.

https://www.reconciliation.org.au/our-work/national-reconciliation-week/

The National Reconciliation Week 2022 theme, “Be Brave. Make Change.” is a challenge to all Australians— individuals, families, communities, organisations and government—to Be Brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can Make Change for the benefit of all Australians.

Last year Reconciliation Australia encouraged all Australians to take action; not just in National  Reconciliation Week but every week of the year.

We saw unprecedented response to our suggested actions for everyday and for braver action.

This year we are asking everyone to make change beginning with brave actions in their daily lives – where they live, work, play and socialise.

National Reconciliation Week—27 May to 3 June—is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Be brave make the change artwork

Reconciliation is important, serious and challenging work.

But it’s also inspiring and uplifting for all Australians and all generations as we look to make reconciliation the business of all of us.

Our collection of bold, brave characters brought to life by contemporary Torres Strait Islander illustrator, Tori-Jay Mordey shows some of the different faces of Australians working for a just and equal society.

They are a visual reminder that reconciliation is everybody’s business.

“I sought inspiration of what that kind of brave change might look like from many different people; people I know that are around me, people I see every day. And people I see living bravely every day in their own lives – from fierce little kids to older people working with more established mindsets and environments,“ Tori-Jay said.

“We can make a change. But we can’t do it alone. Be brave and start the conversation today.”

These illustrations were commissioned by Reconciliation Australia in association with Carbon Creative who advised on,  and managed the 2022 theme creation and development.

Graphics artwork by Tori-Jay Mordey

Tori-Jay Mordey is an established Indigenous Australian illustrator and artist currently based in Brisbane.

Over the years Tori-Jay has honed her skills in digital illustrations, drawings, painting, print making and film while also expanding her skills as a mural artist.

A lot of her work revolves around human connection and exploring her racial identity.

In her illustrative work Tori-Jay often combines stylistic cartoons with realism to help capture the complexities of our emotions; distorting and exaggerating the characters in a way that helps express and expose their vulnerabilities.

2021 theme for National Reconciliation Week is

‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Reconciliation Australia’s theme for 2021, More than a word. Reconciliation takes action, urges the reconciliation movement towards braver and more impactful action.

Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Graphics artwork by Jessica Johnson

The 2021 National Reconciliation Week theme graphics are drawn from the artwork ‘Action’ by Jessica Johnson. Johnson has a highly creative and innovative approach with a distinct voice shaped by her unique lived experiences.

The artwork reflects our connection and mutual obligation to one another, community and Country. Through commonality and difference, we have the ability to come together and achieve real change.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples have been listening to the heart beat of the land and sea for generations. With their rainbow shaped souls the spirits ask for us to join and make reconciliation more than a word, take action. We need to love one another and every aspect of the existing environment and community – we all have a role to play.

We are the change!

Kids College activity with children

 

At Kids College we discussed the artwork and its meaning, including:
 •    Spirit souls = thinking/awareness
 •    The undulating landscape is shown through the contours at the base of the artwork.
 •    Moons/planet = Represent cycle and time.
 •    Stars = Navigation and knowing the way.
 •    Boomerang = Coming full circle. 20 boomerangs represent the 20 years of Reconciliation Australia.
 •    Reflection = Reflecting on our actions.
 •    Central river = The crying river represents the degradation and needed renewal. The land is suffering from inaction.

We showed the children Jessica’s artwork and usedit to facilitate a simple discussion around the 2021 theme. To deepen their connection with the ‘Action’ artwork, we invited children to carefully complete the  colouring in activity after the discussion.

Talking about reconciliation

This is a big topic and when we discuss reconciliation with children a good place to start is to talk about key terms such as friendship, harmony, difference, respect, sharing, fairness, acceptance and understanding.

Chatting to the children to aid their reflections on their own relationships with friends and family by asking:

– What are the ingredients of a good relationship/friendship?
– What makes you feel proud of yourself and those around you? What happens when you feel disrespected?
– What do you do to help others to trust you?

Reconciliation means different things to different people. We used the ‘head, heart, hand’ model to support children to unpack the term ‘reconciliation’ spending some time talking about the concept of reconciliation with the children before undertaking this activity.
Head (think): What do you already know about reconciliation? Why is history an important part of reconciliation?
Heart (feel): What do/could we feel about reconciliation? How is reconciliation part of our own story?
Hand (act): What are some things that you/we/people could do to help to make reconciliation better? How can we make sure that, in the future, reconciliation will live in our hearts, minds and actions?

What is NAIDOC?

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee. Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920′s which sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Kids College recognised National Reconciliation Week, 2020 Theme ‘In This Together’

In 2020 Reconciliation Australia marks twenty years of shaping Australia’s journey towards a more just, equitable and reconciled nation.

Much has happened since the early days of the people’s movement for reconciliation, including greater acknowledgement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights to land and sea; understanding of the impact of government policies and frontier conflicts; and an embracing of stories of Indigenous success and contribution.

2020 also marks the twentieth anniversary of the reconciliation walks of 2000, when people came together to walk on bridges and roads across the nation and show their support for a more reconciled Australia.

As always, we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us, and Australians now benefit from the efforts and contributions of people committed to reconciliation in the past. Today we work together to further that national journey towards a fully reconciled country.

Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We strive towards a more just, equitable nation by championing unity and mutual respect as we come together and connect with one another.

On this journey, Australians are all In This Together; every one of us has a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures.

This year is particularly special as the ‘all in this together’ reconciliation theme has also become the theme around our worldwide COVID -19 situation. We feel these sentiments form a strong base for strengthening ties together and a sense of unity. Kids College children enjoyed making their rainbow message for our service. 

Rainbow pictures are springing up everywhere during this coronavirus pandemic as messages of hope and resilience in these uncertain times. It’s easy in times of danger to be concerned with protecting the child, which obviously is of utmost importance, but in protecting the child we can sometimes treat them as passive and vulnerable, which doesn’t make them feel safe. So, these sorts of activities are really helpful in providing a sense of agency in children, that they can cope with what’s happening and they’re making a contribution to others as well. This enhances their feelings of safety and solidarity.

Always Was, Always Will Be

8-15 Nov 2020

Always Was, Always Will Be recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were Australia’s first explorers, first navigators, first engineers, first farmers, first botanists, first scientists, first diplomats, first astronomers and first artists. NAIDOC Week 2020 acknowledges and celebrates that our nation’s story didn’t begin with documented European contact whether in 1770 with Captain James Cook, or in 1606 with the arrival of the Dutch on the western coast of the Cape York Peninsula. The very first footprints on this continent were those belonging to First Nations people.

2020 Poster was designed by Tyrown Waigana

Tyrown Waigana is an artist and designer living in Perth, Western Australia. He has Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, which can be traced to the Noongar people of south-west Western Australia and Saibai Island in the Torres Strait.

The Rainbow Serpent came out of the Dreamtime to create this land. It is represented by the snake and it forms the shape of Australia, which symbolises how it created our lands. The colour from the Rainbow Serpent is reflected on to the figure to display our connection to the Rainbow Serpent, thus our connection to Country. The overlapping colours on the outside is the Dreamtime. The figure inside the shape of Australia is a representation of Indigenous Australians showing that this country – since the dawn of time – always was, and always will be Aboriginal land.

Unpacking the 2020 logo

Biripi/Bunjalung artist, Nikita Ridgeway created the designs on which the logo and artwork for National Reconciliation Week (NRW) 2020 is/are based. The artwork’s design elements represent Australians together on a national journey of reconciliation, while paying homage to the past and recognising the present.

Reconciliation does not have one representational colour or symbol. Nikita acknowledges this, and is inspired by the respect and relationships First Nations peoples have for and with the natural world around them. She uses vibrant reds and purples to represent wild bush berries; browns and yellows for seeds collected for food; ochre for ceremony and culture; turquoise for our rivers and oceans; and black and brown for the scales and claws of animals that roam this land.

The In this together logo shows Australians at different stages of the journey of reconciliation: the smaller dots and circles on the track represent the different stages of the journey of growth and constant connection. The larger circles represent community. The track represents the story and the many ways reconciliation is celebrated throughout Australia.

The poster draws on Nikita’s other graphic elements that highlight many of those who have pioneered and advanced reconciliation over the years, whilst acknowledging the hope for those yet to learn and become involved. As Australians we are all inter-connected in so many ways; each individual has a part to play in our journey towards reconciliation, building our community of knowledge and respect.

Education plays an important part in reconciliation and the poster highlights our ever-growing Narragunnawali and RAP communities, the vital parts they play in creating positive ripples through all walks of life.

At Kids College we used the colours and techniques to create rainbow serpent pictures. By using the ‘in this together’ poster art elements to our dreamtime story we are able to embed our inclusion and reconciliation values in our programming activities for children whilst showing respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders culture.

Kids College recognised National Reconciliation week 2019, Grounded in Truth: Walk together with Courage.

At the heart of reconciliation is the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community. To foster positive race relations, our relationship must be grounded in truth. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have long called for a comprehensive process of truth telling about Australia’s colonial history, which has been characterised by devastating land dispossession, violence, and often overt and unapologetic racism. Our nation’s past is reflected in the present and will continue to play out in future unless we heal historical wounds.

Recent research shows that 80 per cent of Australians in the general community and 
91 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people believe it’s important to undertake formal truth telling processes. Australians are ready to come to terms with our history as a crucial step towards a unified future, in which we understand, value and respect each other.

Unpacking the 2019 NRW poster

To complement this year’s NRW theme, Grounded in Truth: Walk together with Courage,
the 2019 NRW poster is designed around a central “tree of truth” image. The tree of truth emerges when the seeds of empathy, solidarity and love are sown. It represents the reconciled community we can become, if we’re able to honestly and holistically acknowledge our shared history, learn from it, and move forward together.

The Tree

The tree is a symbol of unity—what happens when people come together to build strong race relations which leads to a unity of purpose for reconciliation in Australia. The tree depicts positive growth and how we might flourish in the future.

The hearts represent empathy, solidarity, goodwill and love. They are the feeling, emotional elements of race relations, and of the wider process of reconciliation in Australia. 


The thought points represent education, growth and understanding. They are the cognitive elements of race relations, and of the wider process of reconciliation in Australia. 


The growth bands radiate outwards from some of the branches. They represent that each of us are always learning and growing in our reconciliation journey— pushing outwards and upwards as time goes by. 


The People

The people represent members of our diverse Australian community harmoniously coming together.

The Heart

The heart represents the connection point of the people in the poster graphic, and reminds us that people—and positive race relations between people—are at the heart of Australia’s reconciliation movement. The radiating lines stemming from the heart highlight that, when people’s hands and hearts join, it creates a powerful energy force. The energy runs up and down; linking the past, present and future.

Text structure and style

The word ‘Truth’ is positioned and stylised to represent the bedrock for Australia’s positive growth towards reconciliation. Once we understand and accept the truths of our shared histories since colonisation, we have a solid foundation to heal and grow.

The word ‘Grounded’ sits above the surface of the ground in the poster graphic. The full ‘Grounded in Truth’ message is designed to be the base of the tree indicating the source of positive growth for strong race relations.

Which areas of the Early Years learning Framework did we use to teach during National Reconciliation week?

EYLF Outcome 1.4—Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect.

• EYLF Outcome 2.1—Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation.

• EYLF Outcome 2.2—Children respond to diversity with respect.

• EYLF Outcome 2.3—Children become aware of fairness.

• EYLF Outcome 5.1—Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes

Reconciliation at Kids College 

Staff engagement with RAP

(RAP Action 14)

Our whole team approach to reconciliation can be seen in our exploration of The State of Reconciliation in Australia view and how we reflected on the five dimensions and used the head heart and hand model. 

NRW started as the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation in 1993 (the International Year of the World’s Indigenous People) and was supported by Australia’s major faith communities. In 1996, the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation launched Australia’s first ‘National Reconciliation Week’. In 2000, Reconciliation Australia replaced the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation as the key organisation responsible for driving a continuing national focus on reconciliation. In the same year, approximately 300,000 people walked across Sydney Harbour Bridge as part of NRW ,showing support for the reconciliation process. 

Building a respectful understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions among the next generation of Australians is critical to achieving reconciliation.

This is an important topic and we discussed this with our staffing team first to foster our abilities as a team, as people and as teacher of young children. 

When we discuss reconciliation we talk about key terms such as friendship, harmony, difference, respect, acceptance and understanding.

Positive change starts with conversations which encourage the open exchange of ideas and build shared understandings. Yarning circles (sometime called dialogue circles) are an important process within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Yarning circles are a process that allows collective learning to take place. Yarning circles are about making turns, rather than taking turns, making sure that everyone has the opportunity to be heard.

We respect the protocols of the yarning circle process by providing all participants with an opportunity to have their say. Each participant should speak, one at a time, and be heard 

without interruption. This process develops deep listening skills and the ability to show respect in the face of differing views.

We read The State of Reconciliation in Australia (2016) report and reflected on our views. We used the five dimensions of reconciliation: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity, and historical acceptance and makes recommendations on how we can progress reconciliation into the next generation.

We then established a yarning circle to unpack the term ‘reconciliation’ and talk about what it means to us. We used the ‘head, heart, hand’ model to unpack the term ‘reconciliation’.

Head (think): What do I already know about reconciliation? What would I like to know more about, and why? How might learning, unlearning and relearning be important to understanding my role in the reconciliation process?

Heart (feel): What is my role in the reconciliation process? How is reconciliation part of my personal story? What unique strengths can I bring to the collective effort of reconciliation?

Hand (act): What is one meaningful action that you could take to contribute to reconciliation? How can all Australians work together to make sure that, in future, reconciliation continues to live in our hearts, minds and actions?

Teach about reconciliation 

(RAP action 7)

Kids College is committed to learning about reconciliation in Australia. Having an understanding of the concept, history and progress of reconciliation is an important part of continuing the reconciliation journey. This understanding also helps to strengthen engagement with our early learning service’s RAP by positioning it within the broader story of reconciliation in Australia.

Our early learning service community celebrates National Reconciliation Week (NRW) which is held from 27 May to 3 June each year by talking about reconciliation in the classroom and around the school, and celebrating with the community. NRW is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort.

Reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians. While reconciliation can mean different things to different people, the State of Reconciliation in Australia report (2016) identified five integral and interrelated dimensions to measure reconciliation by: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity; and unity.

All are interrelated, therefore the state of reconciliation in Australia will only ever be as strong as its weakest dimension.

Five dimensions of reconciliation

Race relations

All Australians understand and value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous cultures, rights and experiences, which results in stronger relationships based on trust and respect and that are free of racism.

Equality and equity

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples participate equally in a range of life opportunities and the unique rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are recognised and upheld.

Institutional integrity

The active support of reconciliation by the nation‘s political, business and community structures.

Unity

An Australian society that values and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage as a proud part of a shared national identity.

Historical acceptance

All Australians understand and accept the wrongs of the past and theimpact of these wrongs. Australia makes amends for the wrongs of the past and ensures these wrongs are never repeated.

Kids College Philosophy

‘We value our collaborative partnerships with professional, community and research organisations and enjoy playing an active role in shaping the future of early childhood education.’

‘We view the context of family, culture and diversity as central to children’s sense of being and belonging.

National Quality Standards

6.2.3 Community engagement. The service builds relationships and engages with its community.

Kids College Family

At Kids College we work each day embedding our values and philosophy into each facet of what we do. We continually improve our practices by critically reflecting and engaging in meaningful relationships with our community and for this we need your support and input.

Let us know if you have any comments, suggestions, queries of know of any resources we night make use of. Make sure to follow Kids College Childcare on facebook, watch for our regular emails and keep an eye on our Kids College website. Share in our vision of creating the very best childcare where children experience love, laughter and learning every day. You can reach us on [email protected]

With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the 
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family