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Hansard Transcript, May 28, Koori First Steps School speech

Posted May 28, 2014

 

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CATHY McGOWAN (Indi) (13:32):  On Monday, 20 May I had the pleasure of visiting the Koori First Steps Preschool in Wodonga, a preschool for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-year-olds run by the Mungabareena Aboriginal Corporation. The Koori first steps program develops in Aboriginal children and their families a sense of personal worth through acceptance and appreciation of their specific cultural identity.

 

I arrived early to greet the kids as they hopped off the bus that brings them to the preschool. This bus ensures that all children can attend preschool and provides an important link between the program and their families.

The director, Julie Ramm, talked with pride about the newly renovated playground area as we watched with delight young Justin, a very friendly, outgoing boy, teach me how to build a castle in the sandbox. Julie also spoke of the ongoing need for further renovations and the need for more books for the children so they can take them home at night to read to their families.

Congratulations go to Julie and her team for their hard work and dedication to the Koori first steps program. It provides a vital tailored service for the Aboriginal community in Albury and specifically Wodonga, ensuring these four-year-olds have the best start in education whilst building knowledge and pride in their Aboriginal cultural identity.

I am very proud to represent my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander constituents, who have shown such innovation and leadership in developing this program. In closing, I encourage all of my colleagues to get involved in National Reconciliation Week and take part in Australia's reconciliation journey.