‘It has been an amazing journey…we’ve got a voice in our community now… our next step is to celebrate this award, to tell more people about it…and the change that we can make in reconciliation’. Director of Forbes Preschool, Amy Shine, reflects on the importance of awards and celebrating achievements after accepting the early learning award at the Narragunnawali Awards 2019.
Acknowledging the contribution by students, children, staff, parents and community members to progressing reconciliation is an important element in the reconciliation process of your early learning service or school.
The Reconciliation Awards RAP Action allows for outstanding examples of work toward reconciliation to be shared with community members and for individuals to be recognised for their commitment to and promotion of reconciliation. Furthermore, recognising commitments to reconciliation fosters unity and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians while also driving social and cultural change in the education sector and wider community.
Early learning services and schools are encouraged to add the Reconciliation Awards action to their RAP and to join the community of 118 early learning services and schools who have already done so.
Consultation with your RAP Working Group and early learning service or school leaders can lead to the development of an awards system that recognises commitment to reconciliation throughout the year. The design of these internal recognition systems could comprise of an annual reconciliation award or a straightforward sticker or badge system in learning activities.
Further recommendations and ideas for Action include:
- Internal awards for the ongoing promotion of reconciliation and the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
- A reconciliation merit awarded in classes, at assemblies or speech nights
- A reconciliation achievement award for school houses
- Staff, student and children involvement in award nomination processes
In recognising the commitment of students, children, staff and community it is essential to have a systematic and consistent approach to ensure the recognition is given the acknowledgement it deserves. A recognition system that is applied throughout the year will help to establish continuity and a strong foundation for ongoing commitment to and recognition of progress towards reconciliation.
There are a number of external awards programs that celebrate the work of early learning services and schools progressing towards reconciliation. External awards provide the opportunity to nominate community members, colleagues, teachers, students and children for their outstanding commitment to reconciliation in education.
The Narragunnawali Awards are presented by Reconciliation Australia biennially and recognise excellence in the education sector. There are two separate awards, one for early learning services and one for schools. Applications are open Australia-wide to all early learning services and schools who have created a Narragunnawali RAP.
State-focused reconciliation awards include the PALS Awards (WA), The Schools Reconciliation Challenge (NSW), The Queensland Reconciliation Awards (QLD), and the Community HART Awards (VIC).
The addition of the Reconciliation Award RAP Action to the RAPs of early learning services and schools allows for the opportunity of genuine recognition and acknowledgement of outstanding progress towards reconciliation.
To learn more about the Reconciliation Award RAP Action and voting curriculum resources please visit: https://www.narragunnawali.org.au/rap/actions/35/reconciliation-awards.