Culturally strong childcare programs for Indigenous children, families and communities
Early Childhood Australia
Faculty of Computing, Health and Science
School of Psychology and Social Science
Accommodating the diverse childcare needs of Australia's Indigenous communities, both within mainstream and Indigenous-operated services, is a major concern for all Indigenous families and communities. Of particular concern in relation to formal child care is the need for programs to be culturally strong. Culturally strong programs incorporate the culturally based beliefs, values and practices, including child-rearing practices, of individuals, families and communities using that service. This paper, drawing upon a broad-based consultation funded by the Australian Government and conducted throughout 2005-06, addresses the key elements of what constitutes culturally strong childcare programs for Indigenous children, families and communities. In recognition of the heterogeneous nature of Indigenous Australians, the research methods included focus groups, community consultations, and interviews with key stakeholders in the childcare sector nationally in order to identify their positions. The research findings highlighted that those involved with childcare programs for Indigenous children, whether they are living in a remote community in the Northern Territory or in Redfern in Sydney, New South Wales, share a similar desire: that programs reflect the cultural knowledge and practices of their respective communities.