OzChild’s Indigenous services contribute to Reconciliation by connecting Aboriginal children and young people with their community and culture. We recognise that cultural heritage is an integral part of a person’s identity and confidence, particularly for young people who are starting to develop their sense of self.
Koorie Playgroups | South West Victoria region
OzChild’s Western Region runs Koorie Playgroup programs in Portland. The playgroups operate with the support of local Indigenous community organisations. Playgroup staff have extensive cultural sensitivity training with local Elders and have incorporated local languages into their playgroup material.
Families attend with their young children to play, do arts and crafts and read and sing together, while immersing children in their Indigenous culture. Parents enjoy learning about school readiness and participate in a range of exciting activities around rhymes and reading to children. Sometimes the playgroups go on a “bush adventure” to get kids out in the country and play in a way that is true to their culture. Research suggests that when children play in a natural environment without toys and structure, their “global development” (cognitive, emotional, psychological, physical) improves.
The following Koorie Playgroups run in the South Western Region of Victoria:
- Dhauwurd-Wurrung in Portland.
- Glenelg City Council in Portland.
- Winda-mara in Heywood and Hamilton.
- Gunditjmara in Warrnambool.
- Kirrae in Framlingham.
Koorie Early Years Network (KEYN) | South West Victoria region
As a founding member, OzChild facilitates the Koorie Early Years Network (KEYN) in south west Victoria.
The five Shires of Warrnambool, Moyne, Glenelg, Southern Grampians and Corangamite work collaboratively to increase outcomes for Koorie children in education and health. Stakeholders work together to introduce and develop Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPS) in their work place to increase cultural awareness and relationships with local Aboriginal communities.
The KEYN Action Plan prioritises cultural awareness training, using local Aboriginal languages in Early Years programs, and working more closely with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations in the region.