Grounded in community

Why culture and community are so important for our little ones.

Aboriginal woman Julie Fox has lived in Cunnamulla her whole life and has a strong connection to its history, culture and community.

Julie’s mother and family moved to Cunnamulla around 1956, back when all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples lived in little shanty houses on the camp on the outskirts of the town.

Julie said her mum and Elders have shared fond memories about the strong sense of community from those days which has made her connection to community even stronger.

‘I’ve heard stories about how it was on the camp, how everyone looked out for each other,’ Julie said.

‘The families didn’t just consist of a mother, father, brother and sister – it was mother, father, children, aunties, uncles, cousins, and that was family down there.

‘Everyone helped out and looked after each other and everyone showed each other hospitality.

‘It was a community and we still have that strong sense of community today.

‘Everyone knows, supports and is respectful of each other in the community here.

Julie said she has dedicated her work in the community to making sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the best health and education outcomes.

As well as working in community, Julie works at the local state school, supporting young children and helping them learn their cultural heritage just like her mum and Elders did for her.

‘It’s important to be able to offer children an education and an insight into their cultural identity because without both of them things can be very difficult’ Julie said.

‘It’s all about respect, and acknowledging our history.

‘Not every child knows about their cultural heritage.

‘So I think it’s really important to be able to offer the children the knowledge, wisdom and education about their culture.

‘It’s the parents’ role as first teachers, but it’s great to learn it at the kindy too.

‘Culture can be brought in to the kindy by bringing parents and leaders in from community and making it important for the children to gather and hold onto that information.

‘This is their local community so it’s important to have that knowledge and be grounded by that knowledge.’

Learn more about helping children to learn about their culture and history, and ways to get community involved in your child’s early education: Getting involved in kindy.

Published — 14 October 2019 Last updated — 24 October 2019

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