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Over 70 Families attend NAIDOC week art show at Eden Academy Isle of Capri

The vibrant and diverse artwork created by the children of Eden Academy Isle of Capri took centre stage during NAIDOC Week, as the early childhood education centre embraced the rich heritage and cultural practices of Australia’s First Nations people. The art show, a culmination of months of preparation and collaboration, not only showcased the creativity of the young artists but also served as a testament to the centre’s commitment to incorporating Indigenous perspectives into its curriculum and community.

Sinead Leong, the Lead Educator of the Toddler Environment and the RAP (Reconciliation Action Plan) representative, has always been passionate about embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into the curriculum but knew there was more the centre could be doing.

The idea of holding an art show during NAIDOC week evolved after the centre recently finalised its reconciliation action plan, which outlines the steps the centre will take to embed reconciliation values within its service.

The art show provided an opportunity to capture the essence of Eden Academy and its ethos of family, children, community, and educators and connect all with country.

Each classroom explored Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and practices through their art after reinventing their embedded routines and learning, such as Bush Kindy, to further promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Teagan Hosking ‘s Pre-Kindy class collected a wide range of natural materials over two months during the weekly Bush Kindy visits. The children were able to create vastly different art projects based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practices and culture they were studying.

Tegan said she had never seen the children so engaged and invested in a project before and emphasised the importance of empowering them to choose their artistic endeavours, giving them agency over their creations. She spoke passionately about how the children began connecting the things they were learning to the artwork they were creating, like the woven baskets and their weaving project.

“It was really nice to see my children come together and collaborate and come up with these ideas themselves!”

“It proves to us what we can do and how we can empower them through this knowledge!”

The overwhelming support from families left the team astonished and profoundly grateful. Centre Manager Bek Gale said that she noticed how the staff all bonded during the process and can see how it has positively impacted the way they work together on a daily basis.

“I noticed all of the staff from all different rooms were going around and helping each other getting it all set up and getting ideas on how they could display it all. It was so nice to see everyone at an event that they were engaged in, the staff enjoyed the night and were really engaged with the families. I am super proud of what they did.”

Carol Barbieri, Isle of Capri 2IC, mentioned that the event was above and beyond what anyone expected, including the involvement of families.

“Sometimes in leadership we come up with ideas and they can go in a different way than we thought, but with this, it was so much more than we could imagine it could be. They really went above and beyond to create the artwork and to get children and families involved!”

The art show attracted an impressive turnout, with more than 75 families in attendance, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere. The event proved to be not only a celebration of creativity but also a significant fundraising success. The raffle alone generated over $150, adding a touch of excitement and anticipation to the evening, and a silent auction allowed families to bid on the remarkable collaborative artwork pieces on display, resulting in an additional $200 being raised. The combined efforts of the art show and these fundraising activities demonstrated the overwhelming support and generosity of the community and families.

Sinead shared, “I was blown away by the families’ support. The fact that they came out in the middle of the week, and in the evening was mind-blowing.”

Embedding and Celebrating Indigenous Culture: Eden Academy Isle of Capri's NAIDOC Week Art Show | IMG 4992 Enhanced NR

The future of the NAIDOC week art show

The immense response and active involvement of the staff, families and wider community left a lasting impression on the Isle of Capri team, solidifying the belief that the art show was one of the most positive experiences they have shared. The unity and sense of accomplishment felt by the team were palpable as they sat together in the staff room after the event, exhausted but unable to contain their smiles.

The success of the NAIDOC Week art show has already sparked discussions and plans for future events. Eden Academy Isle of Capri is determined to build on this success and continue their commitment to embedding Indigenous culture into their teaching practices.

As Sinead excitedly shared, “We are already planning for next year, thinking about how we can top it and create an even more impactful experience.”

The art show at Eden Academy Isle of Capri during NAIDOC Week was not only a celebration of creativity and talent but also a testament to the power of embracing Indigenous culture and fostering connections within the community. Through their commitment to reconciliation and the active involvement of children, families, and educators, Eden Academy Isle of Capri has demonstrated the transformative impact of incorporating Indigenous perspectives into early childhood education.