The future of our communities and our nation depends on providing children with good quality learning. When children are young, the most robust and beneficial learning occurs in natural contexts, with loving caregivers, and involves games.
Learning through games
Most of these educational activities involve a series of simple, one-on-one exercises for engaging children that can be played anywhere, anytime.
A great example of this is LearningGames® from Secretariat National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC). Developed using the Abecedarian Approach, LearningGames provides examples of activities, and give us an understanding of what to expect from the child, how to engage the child and why these activities are so important.
The most important thing you can do to make these games succeed is to adopt the child’s attitude: playing is the best way to learn.
Your voice is also an important part of every game. Say what the child is doing. Name the things the child touches. Let your child know you’re proud of them.
Your child will take in all this talk and, one day, surprise you with words of his own.
Download the Learning Games information sheet.
Being a dad, sharing your stories
The best thing for dads who want some support or advice is to talk to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.
There are many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men’s groups meeting Australia-wide who are talking together about how to look after themselves and their kids and renew their pride and strength.
Ring your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child, family and health services to find out what supports and men’s groups are in your area.
SNAICC’s You’re a Dad resource showcases the positive experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dads who have taken part in men’s groups.
“I’m proud to be a dad. I’ve found out that us fathers can make choices and we can make changes. [It’s] all about hearing and feeling the happiness, hurt and stories from other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fathers. Just to know that our brothers are all feeling the same in a lot of ways. It’s also about acknowledging us as fathers and the role that we do play in our children’s lives. The final message is simple – just talk with your kids and talk with other blokes about your kids.”
– Craig Hammond, You’re a Dad (SNAICC)
Another great site for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dads is Stayin' On Track, by the Family Action Centre at the University of Newcastle.
Berrimba Child Care Centre is a Multifunctional Aboriginal Children’s Service based in Echuca, Victoria. Berrimba means “Forever Learning”. Berrimba has been an important part of the Echuca community for over 30 years. It provides a culturally safe, welcoming and supportive learning environment for many Aboriginal children to start their life-long journey with education. The staff work hard to make the children and families feel welcome and part of the community, and to connect them to culture.
Berrimba provides a range of services, including long day care, transport, Aboriginal Best Start, support to access funding for mainstream kindergarten services and much, much more. Berrimba is more like a family than a child care centre, with local Aboriginal Elders always dropping by. Culture is not only taught specifically to the children, but is an important part of everyday life at the centre.
Find out more about Secretariat National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care.