Aboriginal Languages in Kindergartens

3 April 2019 | General Interest

VAEAI is committed to ensuring that the approaching roll-out of language programs in Victorian kindergartens is done with cultural integrity.

32 kindergartens will start introducing ten Aboriginal languages across the state within the recently announced program.

It’s a landmark occasion as we progress Aboriginal cultural content in curriculum but it’s incredibly important that language is presented and taught with good will and intention from all involved in its development.

“The approach that local Aboriginal community and custodians have a say in who, where, and how languages are taught in educational pathways sets the notion and acknowledges that these languages are not owned by one such community or by government but rather that they belong to Aboriginal people, attributing to the right to self-determination,” said Tina Sahin of VAEAI’s Language Education Unit

“Local Aboriginal community & Traditional custodian groups are at the forefront, always. Their Influential knowledge and power over the direction of the Language Initiative gives communities a voice.” Added Sahin

Victoria is the first state in Australia to develop an initiative of this kind and coincides with the ongoing attempts to strengthen and revive the languages spoken by Victoria’s first people.

VAEAI General Manager Lionel Bamblett believes this will be an important step in the right direction.

“We’re very excited to see the introduction of Koorie Language Programs in a number of kindergartens across Victoria,” said VAEAI General Manager, Lionel Bamblett.

“Culture, along with one’s traditional language are fundamental to a strong sense of identity, belonging and wellbeing.”

“Support for Aboriginal languages and cultural learning is of great importance amongst Koorie and education communities which is continuing from the success of the Koorie Languages in Schools Program and the recently introduced Community language learning and teaching accredited courses,

“There are over 1000 students in Victorian schools currently learning an Aboriginal Language. We know the younger you are the easier it is to learn additional languages, so it makes sense to start this learning as soon as possible through Early Years education,

“These programs will only heighten learning, understanding and authentic connections with our Koorie communities, and improve education outcomes for all involved,” said Bamblett.

The introduction of Aboriginal languages in kindergartens was developed in accordance and communication with the Local Aboriginal Education Consultation Groups across Victoria, VAEAI and the Department of Education & Training are committed to integrating Koorie culture and languages with appropriate awareness.

VAEAI have listened to the community and identified that Aboriginal languages in kinders will be an important aspect of progressing Koorie culture and its place in education.