Get to know your AOs: Kara Rico
Hear how Authorised Officer, Kara Rico, has seen services celebrate NAIDOC week and use their RAPs to influence educational practices and reflections.
What is your position and where are you based?
I am a senior field officer in the Dharawal team and am based out of the Parramatta and Bankstown offices or work from home.
In what ways have you seen services celebrate NAIDOC week?
I have seen services incorporating morning Yarning Circles as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts and resources into their learning environment. These resources are provided to allow children to openly explore and engage. Services have been having discussions with children about NAIDOC week, exploring what NAIDOC means and how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage can be further incorporated. Additionally, I have seen children creating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks and exploring images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture relevant to their local community. What I see as best practice though is when services are embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture into their programming and practice every day, not just in NAIDOC week.
How have you seen services use their RAPs to influence their educational practices or critical reflection to extend children’s learning and development?
It’s great to see services using their RAP to influence their program approaches to educating children about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. Some of the services I have conducted visits with have incorporated the 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning into their daily practice. Additionally, some services engage with their local Aboriginal Elders to gain insights on how to further incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in the service practice, in some services this has led to the incorporating of murals being painted in the services by local artists as well as educating services about cultural awareness.
A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a formal statement of commitment to reconciliation. Services can develop a RAP using the Narragunnawali platform to register and extend on existing initiatives or to begin a new journey.
The 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning is a framework expressed as eight interconnected pedagogies that allows educators to include Aboriginal perspectives by using Aboriginal learning techniques.
How have you seen services seek out the voices, perspectives and views of children throughout the day to facilitate children’s learning and development?
Services seek out the voices, perspectives and views of children through a variety of platforms. I’ve seen floor books being utilised to give children open opportunity to draw or write down their thoughts. These floor books are then utilised to inform program planning and decision making.
Services are also increasingly incorporating morning Yarning Circles. During this time children come together and discuss their day, Aboriginal culture, their own cultural backgrounds, read dream time stories and discuss their meaning. This provides children with a platform to discuss Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture as well as their own and share parts of their day to create a sense of interconnectedness and moving past tokenism when it comes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.