What does Place mean?
Place is an integral part of Aboriginal people’s identity and belonging. It highlights the diversity of local peoples, cultures, connections, and knowledges that exist across New South Wales. Approaches to Aboriginal education should be tailored at the local level with local community and stakeholders.
Early engagement at the local level is the foundation for all stages of formulating, implementing, and evaluating policies, programs and planning. Care should be taken to ensure that department staff understand and adhere to community protocols around communication and provide flexible time frames for activities.
What are some practical examples I can use to embed this Guiding Principle?
Practical application of this Framework will look and feel different across the many contexts and environments of the NSW public education space. Everyone is encouraged to embrace the Framework and determine what the Guiding Principles mean for the work we do.
- Recognise the history of Place, ask and listen to the stories. Acknowledge family and community lived experience including interaction with the education system.
- When entering a new location in NSW – an early childhood centre, a preschool, a school, an office, even your local shops, ask yourself, ‘Do I know the Aboriginal Country I am on today? The Aboriginal Country we are meeting on today?’. If the answer is no, it is important to research this yourself, or ask someone you feel safe asking. Understanding the context of Place, including its history and significance is crucial to best practice in evaluation and building genuine, authentic Relationships with Aboriginal people.
- Acknowledge Country. Once you know the Aboriginal Country you are on, it is an important next step to Acknowledge Country. This is done at the beginning of a meeting or event but can also be extended to the start of the school day or school period. Acknowledgement of Country can be given by anyone and can be a good opportunity to encourage others to learn about the Aboriginal Country you are on too. The department has more resources on Acknowledgement of and Welcome to Country here.
- Aboriginal Country can also be Acknowledged physically. A plaque or printed Acknowledgement of Country across all educational settings; Aboriginal artwork throughout a preschool, school or office; flying the Aboriginal flag and Torres Strait Island flag. These physical representations of Place signal a welcoming and inclusive cultural environment. In Acknowledging Country physically take the time to know the history and significance of the local Place.
- Develop Relationships locally. Is there a key contact or person that can introduce you to the right people, stakeholder organisations and learners?
Hear staff perspectives on the importance of Place
Robert Cheadle, Principal, School Leadership and Secondary Principals Council Aboriginal Education Chairperson, shares why Place is important to him.
Sonia Vukovcan, School Administrative Officer, Bellambi Road Public School, talks about the benefits of embracing Place in her workplace.
Want to know more? Share your feedback through the QR code so the Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships Directorate Team can ensure that we are building the resources you need to be culturally responsive in evaluation and school planning.
If you would like a presentation for your Directorate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org