Tumut Community Pre-School is celebrating being named joint winners of a reconciliation award.
The Pre-school was named joint winner of the Reconciliation Australia Narragunnawali Award in the Early Learning Services Category with Balnarring Pre-School in Victoria.
Judging Panel member Sharon Davis said judges were impressed by the early learning services’ commitment to building respectful and constructive relationships with local Traditional Owner groups.
“Tumut Community Pre-school staff do not shy away from the important work of critical reflection and holding each other to account,” said Ms Davis.
“They are committed to anti-racism in policy and practice, and work in partnership with the local Aboriginal community.”
The Narragunnawali Awards were held in a virtual format after the Australian Reconciliation Convention, and winning wasn’t something the Tumut Pre-school staff were expecting.
“It was a big surprise,” Pre-school service manager Tess Herring said.
“We had absolutely no idea until they announced it. We are very excited and all the children are excited. The children watched the virtual awards and were so excited to see their little Preschool on the big panel in front of people from all over the world. One of the children, Jack (5yo) said very excitedly that “we are the winners of the whole planet.”
Ms Herring said the pre-school had been working on reconciliation for six years with the original development of their Reconciliation Plan (RAP).
“For us, this six-year journey wasn’t about an award, it was about the right thing to do, teaching our youngest children another way,” she said.
“At our pre-school we have a really big focus on social justice, anti-racism and fairness.
“Our children learn about First Nations history as well as the beautiful Wiradjuri culture, language and connection to country. There is so much more to early childhood education than people may think and developing the foundation for lifelong learning is critical. Reconciliation is part of that foundation.
The pre-school was nominated at the beginning of the year by local Trish Espie-Whitburn, who said in her nomination:
“In the past couple of years I have watched Tumut Pre-school transform their physical and learning environment with the sole focus of improving Aboriginal engagement and community reconciliation. The Tumut Preschool RAP is dynamic and inclusive.