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Reflections Magazine : Issue 50
18 Author: Associate Professor Bev Flückiger Griffith University Forging Partnerships with Parents in Indigenous Communities The community kindergarten at Napranum in remote far north Queensland has forged a strong partnership with local Indigenous families to support young children's engagement in reading activities. Educators in early childhood settings recognise the importance of forging strong and successful partnerships with parents and community in order to support children's learning. In Indigenous communities, where English may be a family's second or third language, engaging parents as partners is crucial for supporting children's literacy learning, as well as to ensure children attend and participate in early education. In Napranum, a remote Indigenous community on the western side of Cape York in far north Queensland, a very successful partnership has been established. The partnership at Napranum has evolved through the development and implementation of a community literacy program called PaL (Parents and Learning). Designed by the parents and the preschool teacher/ director, using literature that supports the beliefs and values of the community, the program consists of a series of kits, each with a book and accompanying literacy activity for parents to undertake with their children. Parents are trained as tutors to visit homes and deliver the kits, and to explain the literacy activities and their connection to school learning. The partnership operates in a space where everyone listens to each other respectfully, and the cultural knowledge and experiences of the parents and community, along with the knowledge and experiences of the educators, are given equal importance. The co-constructed space (not a physical location) in which PaL operates, is best described as an inter-cultural space. Taylor (2003, 45) has described an intercultural space as: ...the meeting of two distinct cultures through processes and interactions which retain the distinctive integrity and difference of both cultures and which may involve a blending of elements of both cultures but never the domination of one over another.
Reflections Magazine Issue 51