Aboriginal resources for education and care services staff, Koori interagency meetings, diary dates and family activities.
- people skills are important. Remembering names and the relationships between people will help you engage, earn trust and be viewed as credible
- broaden your concept of family - many Aboriginal people base their decisions on a consensus of extended family and kin (community), rather than just the immediate family group
- be empathic without being overly-familiar and accept that unless you are Aboriginal, it may be difficult to fully understand the person's opinions or situation. Ask genuine, but non-intrusive questions about family and culture
- be patient. Many Aboriginal people understandably mistrust mainstream agencies and it can take time to earn their trust. Ask family members if they would be more comfortable speaking about personal issues with a support person present
- for many Aboriginal people, direct eye contact may be inappropriate. This may be due to shyness or unfamiliarity with the person speaking to them
- recognise that, like other cultures, Aboriginal people often begin with general talk and interaction, before getting down to business
- respect and understand silence. Silence may mean people are not ready to express an opinion yet or they are listening and reflecting on what has been said.
Supporting staff to learn about Aboriginal culture and beliefs
- run regular Aboriginal education programs for staff, perhaps link with other local education and care services and do a joint program
- invite Elders to speak to staff about local beliefs and culture especially about country, community and child rearing - be mindful that payment may be required for these services
- organise cultural awareness training with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Sector Advisory Group
- review Indigenous Professional Support Unit information for Aboriginal education and care services staff
Koori interagency meetings
The Koori Interagency is a forum where Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal workers, both in the non-government and government sectors, come together to share information about their services which can better support their local Aboriginal communities.
Interagency meetings occur regularly, often monthly. You could attend one of these meetings to talk about your service and meet local Aboriginal community members and workers.
To find out if there is a Koori Interagency located in your area, speak to staff in local Aboriginal NGOs or government agencies.
Dates for the diary
Speak to your local Aboriginal community about events that they participate in and ask how you can join in or organise your own activity to acknowledge Aboriginal events.
- Yabun - celebrating Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander cultures – 26 January each year (in Sydney)
- National Sorry Day – 26 May each year
- Reconciliation Week – (generally the last week of May)
- Mabo Day – 3 June every year
- NAIDOC Week – first full week in July each year
- National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day – 4 August every year
Aboriginal children's books, music, games and learning tools
Consider making your service more welcoming for Aboriginal families by displaying images of Aboriginal children, the Aboriginal flag or Indigenous artwork in the foyer.
Purchase games, art materials, flashcards and books with Aboriginal art and stories. You could perhaps involve local Aboriginal parents or carers in developing these resources.
Information and support for your service
Indigenous Professional Support Unit - provides professional support, advice and training to staff in eligible Indigenous-run child care services.
Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC)
What works - program to engage Aboriginal families with schools
Australian Government culture portal
Growing up strong a series of books that offers basic child development information in a simple format and incorporates local Aboriginal languages.