Education and Early Childhood Award
The Education and Early Childhood Award is one of 10 categories in Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence. The award recognises outstanding educational practice which enhances intercultural understanding and meets the needs of children and young people from diverse communities.
Successful nominees may have developed innovative ways to teach children and students about diverse cultures, addressed culturally-based tension in the schoolyard, or made educational opportunities more accessible and appropriate for students from diverse backgrounds.
Initiatives may involve:
- Learning and teaching programs that incorporate local, national and international perspectives across school and early childhood settings
- Supporting the educational and settlement needs of communities from migrant and refugee backgrounds
- Building the intercultural capabilities of educators, teachers and support staff working in schools or early childhood settings, or
- Promoting social cohesion and community resilience in education settings
- Schools, early childhood services and not-for-profit community organisations working in schools and/or early childhood services
- Organisations may self-nominate
- School staff, teachers and early childhood educators
- Individuals may not self-nominate
- Nominations of individuals must be supported (as nominee or referee) by a senior manager of their organisation, e.g. school principal, CEO of organisation, member of incorporated entity
WINNER – EARLY CHILDHOOD
The Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture Early Years Program
The Victorian Foundation for the Survivors of Torture Inc. (also known as Foundation House) provides services to people from refugee backgrounds in Victoria who have experienced torture or other traumatic events in their country of origin or while fleeing those countries. Within Foundation House, the Early Years Program works to improve outcomes for children and families from refugee backgrounds by supporting Victorian early years services to work effectively for and with families of refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. The Craigieburn Refugee Early Years Project works collaboratively with Local Government and local early years services to build the capacity of early childhood educators to provide inclusive and welcoming environments to newly arrived and refugee families and children, using family centred practices. The program includes a Community Advisory Project to facilitate monthly discussions between service providers and refugee families. The Community Advisory Project offers early years services invaluable insight into approaches to make their services more accessible to newly arrived and refugee families, while helping those families to become more knowledgeable of the range of early years services and support available. By working in partnership with early years services and the newly arrived communities, the Craigieburn Refugee Early Years Project offers a positive, multifaceted response to support the educational and settlement needs of communities from migrant, asylum seeking and refugee backgrounds.
WINNER – SCHOOL EDUCATION
Croydon Primary School
Through consultation and responsiveness, Croydon Primary School is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of its community of predominately Burmese refugees: Falam, Karen, Zomi, and Hakha Chin. To create new avenues for communication while also building capacity of teachers to understand the perspectives of the school’s refugee community, Croydon Primary School employs a dedicated wellbeing/refugee coordinator, multicultural aides for each language group, as well as two teachers from refugee backgrounds. The school has consulted with students and parents to identify key areas for focussed support. Over the last two years Croydon Primary School has partnered with EACH Health to address a priority need of improved dental health in the refugee student community, proactively designing activities that support the involvement of parents, such as providing interpreters for promotional events and having a Multicultural Education Aide and the English as an Additional Language teacher accompany parents and students on an excursion to the dentist. Croydon Primary School is further responding to requests from their parent community through the development and implementation of a Prep to Year 6 sexuality education program, supported by comprehensive parent information sessions in each community language group prior to delivery. Acknowledging the critical importance of mental health and the unique challenges faced by some within the school community, the school initiated partnerships with the Resilience Project and Foundation House to improve teacher capacity and to engage with parents and students on mental health issues. Croydon Primary School is sharing its experiences across the wider school community, striving to build the intercultural capabilities of educators, teachers and support staff working in all schools, and improve the educational and settlement needs of communities from migrant and refugee backgrounds.