Building Relationships Using Culture and Community

Building Relationships Using Culture and Community
Element 6.3.4
The service builds relationships and engages
with the local community
Room Name:
Educator’s Name:
Experiences of relationships and participation in communities contribute to children’s ‘belonging, being and becoming’.
Engaging with the community strengthens children’s interest and skills in being and becoming active contributors to their
world. Assessors may observe an environment that reflects the lives of the children and families using the service and the
cultural diversity of the broader community, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (Guide to the
National Quality Standard page 167).
When educators respect the diversity of families and communities, and the aspirations they hold for their children, they
are able to foster children’s motivation to learn and reinforce their sense of themselves as competent learners.
You can build relationships using culture and community using the following steps.
Step 1
Make contact with your families
Use family input sheets to request information from families about their culture, traditions, artefacts etc. Read your
children's enrolment forms to see who has identified as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Ask questions respectfully
about their family. Remember under previous Government policies indigenous people were forcibly removed from their
land. You cannot assume indigenous people living in the area come from the area or know about local culture.
Step 2
Use information resources (internet, books) to research cultures, traditions and artefacts
Step 3
Make connections with any relevant local cultural groups, including Indigenous groups
In Australia, building relationships with the local community also includes promoting greater understanding of Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and being. We can’t just make boomerangs with dots to ‘represent’ Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander culture. Did you know that didgeridoos are only found in the top part of the Northern Territory
and Queensland, or that dot painting is only created north of Alice Springs? Do you know the stories, traditions and culture
of Indigenous children at your Service?
Emu hunting is a current way of life for many people in Wilcannia. They still hunt and live off the land. They use guns to
shoot the animals for eating, not boomerangs.
Connecting children to their communities and heritage provides many opportunities for educators to engage in intentional
teaching and extend learning. In this example, educators can discuss how:
they use the eggs for many different foods including cakes, scrambled eggs and omelettes.
they use the black, fatty meat
they cook the emu in a hole
they dance the emu dance when celebrating
they use the feathers to make a basket or a charm and dream catchers
they carve the eggs and sell them they use the fat for cosmetics
they mix the fat with ochre to help relieve aches and pains
they know the emu is nesting when it appears in the Milky Way (May – June)
female emus are bigger but the male sits on the nest.
If you have no Indigenous families, or you would like to extend you understanding of indigenous traditions and culture, try
and make contact with your local indigenous community by researching:
local council websites
Museums websites
State government websites
Land Council
Federal Government websites
In Google type in your suburb/town or location and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples heritage or art.
Below are some examples of sites
Australia wide:
This site lists the States' and Territories' art sites. Did you know 6000drawings, most of which were carved into sandstone
rock faces, once existedthroughout what is now the Sydney metropolitan area.
NSW: NSW Lands Council
Victoria: Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Heritage Council
Each indigenous people/area has its own cultural heritage. The picture below, for example, is from the Mob in Wilcannia,
far north west NSW.
Step 4
Make resources (eg books and wall displays) to intentionally teach the children about the specific culture
Step 5
Use innovative ways to construct art representing the culture
Step 6
Undertake activities that represent children's cultural heritage? Some ideas include:
hair braiding
sand letter writing
Arabic, Chinese etc writing
creating dolls
using cultural artefacts like Turkish coffee pots, African combs, Vietnamese conical hats, jewellery, leis,
wood carvings
cultural rituals like tea ceremonies
books that show diverse cultures and practices
menus that include traditional foods like tacos, spring rolls, noodle soups, sushi