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MEDIA RELEASE - Heywood commits to Reconciliation

16 September 2020

The Heywood community are demonstrating their commitment to reconciliation, with the township’s Kindergarten implementing a first of its kind action plan for the region.

The Heywood Kindergarten have recently launched a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a strategic document which focuses on relationships, respect and opportunities to increase cultural awareness and understanding within the service and the wider community.

Heywood is the first kindergarten in the Glenelg Shire Education and Care services to launch such a plan.

Heywood Kindergarten teacher Corinna Bell said the RAP was a “whole of community” approach to reconciliation in early years education.

“We believe reconciliation is driven by a continual cycle of learning where all children will experience pride in their family, their language and their cultural heritage, and can learn to respect the same in others,” she said.

“We’ve worked closely with our Kindergarten community and key partners such as Winda-Mara to put together a comprehensive plan that ensures cultural awareness is something which is celebrated and discussed on a daily basis.

“Ultimately, the RAP will provide a framework to deliver education and care seamlessly linked to the values of the Gunditjmara people, the Traditional Custodians of the Land from which we deliver our service.”

Parent and Gunditjmara woman Keicha Day has also contributed to the service’s RAP, donating an Acknowledgment of Country plaque to be displayed in the service’s front garden and entry way.

Day commended the Kinder on their dedication to “provide a culturally safe place” and acknowledged that the service displayed cultural intelligence.

“Cultural intelligence goes further than ticking a box – it’s genuine empathy, understanding interconnectedness and willingness to engage and include Gundjtmara people by way of normalising us on Country. The cultural intelligence is extremely important for cultural safety to occur and evolve with community needs,” she explained.

“The RAP itself is a deadly way to keep the kinder on track and to have commitments that are attainable and measurable.

“We are extremely proud to recognise the very capable efforts of Heywood Kindergarten staff by donating the plaque.

“We hope that it adds to pride in the identity for our boorais attending the facility and helps demonstrate to the wider community that normalising the interconnectedness of Aboriginal culture, Country and identity is important to all of our children’s development.

“It will provide a solid foundation for young people, [especially those] who go on to become leaders, that they understand and value everyone in our community.”

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