Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, language and culture are integral to our national identity. There are more than 455,028 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia. Some 28% of people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander of both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin live in Queensland. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students represent 8.4% of state school students within Queensland.
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives (EATSIPS) in schools
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in schools is a key action for the department under the Queensland Government Reconciliation Action Plan, released in June 2009. Implementing this initiative will help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in life-expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity.
It is also a key priority of the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Plan 2010-2014 which was endorsed by education ministers in each state and territory in April 2010. This Action Plan outlines actions that will be undertaken at the national, state and local level.
The EATSIPS guide focuses on systemic change, and personal and professional accountability when incorporating Indigenous perspectives into our school culture, curriculum and pedagogy. It aims to further equip our school leaders and teachers with more in-depth knowledge and non-Indigenous students with confidence and without prejudice.
How does this look at our school?
There are a number of ways Wooroolin State School acknowledges and includes EATSIPS perspectives. Some of these are listed below.
- At each Parade we fly the Australian and Indigenous flags together. Before important events and before commencing School Parade on Mondays, we Acknowledge Country.
- The school is a member of the Dare to Lead coalition: a group of Australian schools and educational institutions who are publicly committed to advancing the cause of reconciliation between Australia’s indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
- Our library has a dedicated space to Indigenous resources.
- Our staff has engaged in a series of professional development around Indigenous history and protocols and aim to include indigenous perspectives in our units of work.
- Our school annually celebrates NAIDOC Day. In 2011 our school hosted NAIDOC Day celebrations with other small schools.
- In 2010 Cherbourg artist Venus Rabbit and her team painted a mural for our school. The mural depicts the Wooroolin wetlands in the time before white settlement. This was supported by funds from the ACICC, an organisation whose purpose is to support indigenous projects in the local community.
- Venus was our Principal for a Day in 2011.
- We have sought out and have been successful in receiving grants to purchase Indigenous resources (literacy and numeracy) from the ACICC.