The team at Balnarring Pre-School (situated in Balnarring on the Mornington Peninsula) have a commitment to reconciliation and providing the children in their service, and the wider community, with a connection to and understanding of Aboriginal culture.
Balnarring have partnered with a number of community organisations including the local primary school, other early learning centres and services, local artists and local community Elder N'Arweet Carolyn Briggs to form the Bundjil Nest Project.
Now in its fifth year the Bundjil Nest Project allows educators to participate in professional development opportunities to gain a greater understanding of Koorie peoples' perspectives giving them the confidence to include this in their curriculum and planning.
Each year children at Balnarring Pre-School also participate in a day of learning that involves rotating through workshops run by local Koorie people.
A permanent sculpture has also been placed at Robinsons' Park at Balnarring Beach that represents an acknowledgment of the Boon Wurrung people, Bundjil's nest with a Bundjil flying over the top.
In 2017 the Balnarring Pre-School team were recognised for their work by being named as finalists of the Narragunnawali Award in early learning.
The Narragunnawali Award recognises exceptional commitment to reconciliation in education across the country, and Balnarring Pre-Schools recognition demonstrated the importance of cultural and community connectivity.
Following time spent in Sydney as finalists for the Narragunnawali Award, team leaders Ann Slater and Karen Anderson were inspired to continue and grow their commitment to Aboriginal education within their community.
This great program was also recognised when Ann was celebrated at the 2017 Victorian Early Years Awards as a finalist in the teacher of the year category.
This year the preschool published a book, Bundjil Creation Story, which has been produced following the sharing of conversations from local Elder N'Arweet Carolyn Briggs.
A Community festival Womin Djeka Balnarring Ngargee has also been developed by the preschool and community.
By sharing their learning and demonstrating leadership within the early childhood sector, the team at Balnarring Pre-School hope to encourage others to include Aboriginal culture into their programs.
Watch this video to learn more about how Balnarring Pre-School recognises Aboriginal culture.