Elle Hughes currently works both as an Early Childhood Educator in a kindergarten in a small town in Queensland and as an EMBRACE Culture in Kindy Project Facilitator.

She has been working with young children for over 20 years and has had diverse and beautiful experiences working with the potential of young children in the context of working with their families and the community they live in.  

In this clip Elle shares stories of how she has found opportunities to celebrate our diversity and a sense of belonging for all.

Transcript

Finding opportunities to celebrate our diversity: QCOSS EMBRACE 2015 

Elle Hughes

We started this year looking at Who am I? and Where do I belong? and What does it mean to be who I am?  And we started that with Harmony Day.  We used it as a launch with the families to look at to celebrate their cultural backgrounds.   

It was an interesting journey because it started off not being very obvious.  We couldn’t observe necessarily their cultural backgrounds.  Yet when we put out the globe for example and we talked about where are we from.  Or where do we identify with.  Or our ancestors from.  The families with their children put their names on different countries.  And that brought discussions up with families and the children about those countries and what traditions and what rituals they had there. 

And from there the families started coming in weekly to do cooking, and to do dancing, and to tell stories about what they remember as children in other countries or what their parents had told them.  

It was a very interesting journey that we started with the globe.  

But then we’ve gone to now Where do I live? And What’s my place? And we’ve brought a lot of that into Indigenous histories.  So talking about Indigenous Australia and the histories and how their connection to country is very very important.  We’ve used, we’ve spring boarded off like NAIDOC week for example and Sorry Day. 

And then we’ve looked to bring it real to the children, we’ve looked at well Where do I belong? and they’ll talk about the street or their house and who lives in their family with them.  

And then they’ve looked outside of them to Indigenous Australia well where do they say, where is their country, and where do they belong?  

So it’s been a really nice messing together for the children of well I belong and of course other people also have belonging as part of who they are.  

So we’ve been doing lots of map reading and looking at country and identifying with what makes it important for us.  

I think the staff.  Myself and the assistant, the children and families have really been on that journey together and in that process we’ve brought along some community people as well.  

When Duvali was coming up to be celebrated, we went to the local Indian restaurant and we invited them to come and talk about Duvali.  And to our surprise and joy they came down dressed in their Sari’s, with butter chicken for all of the children, with stories of India and they were new to town so it brought the community into the whole process of talking about being and belong. 

I’m really excited about where it’s gone and where we continue to go because each day we bring up different discussion about language and culture and people and place and empathy and compassion.  

We read a story about refugees and that was really interesting as well hearing the children’s perception of what it would be not to have a home not to have a place to go any more.  So not getting into the wider more academic or political discussion of refugees but talking about what it would really feel like not to have your place and where you belong.  

I’m just really excited about where it’s going and the involvement, the intense involvement of the families from the very start of this kindergarten year by talking starting with who am I and where have I come from.  When it’s not so obvious but it is important to people 

Acknowledgements

Camera Operator and Sound Recordist: Ranu James

Production Assistant: Cherie Lamb

Director/Editor: Ranu James

EMBRACE Culture in Kindy and Program with the Queensland Council of Social Service 

We would like to acknowledge that this film was developed and filmed on the land of the Kabi Kabi, Gubbi Gubbi and the Jinbarra nations.

Share or Print