Footprints to create yarning circle with state grant monies

Footprints Early Learning Centre at Erina is one of two Central Coast pre-schools to receive $10,000 from the State Government’s Early Childhood Education Grants scheme to support early childhood education for Aboriginal children across the region.

CEO of parent company Erina Baptist Community Care, Anna Phan, said receiving the grant was “absolutely amazing.

“It’s especially exciting because of how we’re going to use the money,” Phan said.

“Earlier last year we approached an early childhood outdoor consultancy firm, Inspired EC, to support a process of engaging our children, staff and families to collaboratively design an outdoor learning environment which would improve educational experiences and outcomes for each child attending our service.

“Linked with this was a strong desire to align with our Footprints philosophy, in which we recognise that ours are not the first footprints on this land.

“Accordingly, our brief to Inspired EC was to centre the design and materials of the playground renovation in our natural environment and to ensure that the values of our philosophy were evident through it.

“We will use our grant funding to construct a yarning circle to reflect those traditionally used by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“We have included one in the design of our outdoor learning environment to facilitate the encouragement and development in each child of the art of listening and speaking from the heart.

“We look forward to the positive outcomes from yarning circles, which will allow us to: encourage deep and honest communication; encourage learning and practising the art of listening and talking from the heart; facilitate children expressing themselves; explore factors contributing to conflicts; and encourage the sharing of personal stories.”

Phan said the works were expected to be completed early-mid next year.

Toukley Pre-School also received a $10,000 grant under the scheme.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast and Member for Terrigal, Adam Crouch, said the support would benefit and enrich the development of culture in the community.

For more information, visit the Department of Education website.

Terry Collins