Over the last week, I attended the National Early Learning Summit , in Melbourne.
I was representing and lending the eyes and ears of LifeRocks, to listen and see exactly where the hearts, minds and practices are , of those working closely within the field of Early Learning, so that we can orientate LifeRocks, to support these interests. The summit was some of what I expected, and it was also some things, that I had no idea to expect. What I expected , was to meet passionate, caring, and dedicated people involved in raising, educating and supporting children and I most certainly met lots of them. What I did not expect, was the interactive structure of the event – where the summit leaders, engaged the minds and hearts of everyone in the room into discussion through workshops. These workshops became the forge for ideas that aim to influence and shape the future of early learning in Australia. What was produced in these discussions , was a blueprint for early Learning in Australia – and this process is still underway by the organisers and those who attended the event.
This rainbow, sums up what was produced - and is the summary of 500 peoples voices over 2 days hard work. What this said to me, I will sum up as following: A first nations people, co-directed , ecological approach to dealing with learning, health and education of all early years people of Australia, that can be supported by government , private sectors, and all Australians. The need for inclusivity in the approach was highlighted during the event. People on the fringes of society, are often the ones suffering from our modern culture the most. First nation peoples, people with health, mental, and learning challenges, poverty, homelessness, violence and trauma can all become major factors for people in being able to access and find appropriate care and support. Parenthood in and of itself, is one of the most challenging roles people can face. Whilst it is often portrayed as an intuitive process - parents Australia wide are not supported with the evidence that we have. Evidence and science that can support them, in supporting their children to have the best opportunities in life. Collectively face many challenges when it comes to raising our children. In facing the challenges, we must collectively become aware of the issues we face, and collectively become aware of what works in creating a positive trajectory for our children’s health and wellbeing. From the science and the evidence that has accumulated, we know that: - Nature based play and learning is effective in promoting proper mental, physical and emotional development for the child, the family, and our culture. When we speak to First Nations people , Original Australians, we find their culture, and their people is seen as connected to the land intrinsically. The way they speak , is that the land and they, are the same force. Without the land , they are not alive. Their very culture is intertwined , into their connection to the land. A First Nations man spoke at the beginning of the event, his name was Dave. He said that , it is said among his people , that to care for children, one must know how to care for the land. Without care for the Earth on which we stand, we cannot hope to care for the young ones? That is why all adults must be initiated into their connection and care for the Earth, before raising children. The words stuck with me throughout the summit, and they still speak to me now. I cannot agree more! Without the Earth, we have no children. Without knowledge of how to live in balance with the elements of life, we cannot protect or sustain life. A survey was conducted asking children what THEIR OWN top chosen rights were . The top three rights The Children chose were : 1 – To feel Safe 2 – To be cared for and have a home 3 – To be able to breathe clean air and drink clean water. The children really know how to sum things up simply don’t they? Imagine if we took these words seriously as a nation? Securing the safety , health and cleanliness of our environment can become a priority , not because “ it is good for the environment” which is also noble – but because it is good for our children, and it is what they want and need. It is a common saying of a time gone by - that “Children are best to be seen and not heard”. We need a new slogan for a new time. One that is closer to “ Children need to be seen outdoors, and heard laughing everywhere” . Because we all know that the playful spirit of children, their honesty , and their needs can inspire us all to create a better world. A world where we are fully connected to nature, where all peoples can thrive and be supported, and where we can secure a wiser and brighter future of play and abundance. Asher Cloran, LifeRocks! Science Education.