Transforming Futures for Koorie Pre-schoolers in Gippsland Through Community-Educative Partnerships
Australians of Indigenous descent within south-eastern New South Wales and Victoria generally self-identify as Koorie. Gippsland’s Indigenous population is concentrated within the main regional centres of the Latrobe Valley and the more remote areas of east Gippsland. Within these demographics, early childhood services have a crucial role to play in supporting young Koorie children and their families in multifaceted ways. These services are tasked with actively promoting the sustained collaboration and participation of the Indigenous community from a Gippsland standpoint. The capacity of Gippsland to meet the outcomes for early childhood education identified in Victoria’s Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan 2016–2026 is closely concomitant upon the ability of early childhood services to reflect family and community values and funds of knowledge. With these considerations in mind, this chapter discusses the opportunities, barriers and aspirations of Indigenous families accessing and engaging with early childhood services in Gippsland. The voices of the Gippsland Indigenous community are reflected through researcher interviews with Indigenous educators and leaders linked to the early childhood services. Many progressive examples of strong and affirming partnerships between the Indigenous community and early childhood services are revealed within this chapter. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion on the significance of the research for the Gippsland region, which was undertaken by Federation University Australia (FUGuE) researchers from a regional university in conjunction with colleague Nicholas Johnson, a Gunai, Monero Ngarigo and Gunditjmara man.
KeywordsGippsland’s Indigenous population Indigenous educators Early childhood education Indigenous engagement in education Educational challenges
We wish to acknowledge the study participants who have provided consent for their full names to be used in the production of this publication.
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