What does an authentic approach to ‘families leading the way’ really look like?

Children’s Ground: Evidencing system and service reform led by First Nations families
Wednesday 25 July, 1150 – 1210


Mel Kean
Children’s Ground

Felicity Hayes
Children’s Ground

Jen Lorains
Children’s Ground

Lorrayne Gorey
Children’s Ground

“If you want to know what matters most, move over and let us do the driving”: Children’s Ground (CG) Arrernte staff member. In 2017, at Ampe-kenhe Ahelhe (Children’s Ground) in Central Australia, the Ingkerrekele arntarnte-areme (Arrernte governance committee) assessed their greatest achievement as ACTION. No more telling policy makers, service providers or researchers what they want to see for the future of their children and getting no tangible response. This time they are doing it for themselves.
At CG, Arrernte families have been backed by philanthropists to develop and implement their own Early Years Learning and Wellbeing curriculum. Using an intergenerational approach to learning, the Arrernte team are developing an early childhood curriculum that builds on the foundations of 30 years of work and attempts to implement and seek validation within Western education systems for their cultural knowledge and their children’s right to learn on country and in first language. They are teaching their children in the way they know will make the difference.
This presentation will demonstrate what can be achieved when First Nations rights and culture are respected and enacted.
CG works with communities to implement place-based change. Starting with a genuine partnership where families invite CG to work with them, families determine local needs and are making the decisions and delivering and evaluating the approach. This is how First Nations children will grow up in control of what matters most — having agency over their lives.