SNAICC showed a video developed with Bubup Wilam Early Learning Aboriginal Child and Family Centre at a Parliamentary Breakfast hosted in Canberra in February 2014.
The video, developed with the funding support of the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, shows the journey of Bubup Wilam.
It highlights the core values of the service, the different services provided and the potential for real health, wellbeing and education outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
It shows the importance of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child and Family Centres in achieving the national Closing the Gap targets.
David Turnbull, CEO, Whittlesea Council: Bubup’s been a community based project since the start, the Councils been privileged to be an enabler, facilitator and partner and helping to deliver the vision of the local Aboriginal community, which was to ensure that the education and wellbeing of Aboriginal children was a priority. The vision and philosophy of the centre was developed by the Aboriginal community and in the three year period achieved an interim centre and a permanent, purpose built self-managed centre.
Thorne, Bubup Wilam father: I tried a couple other day cares and they were either closed in, the kids couldn’t see out properly and they didn’t sort of feel comfortable when we just went to sign them in. I heard about Bubup Wilam. So I’ve come in to see about housing and the girls loved it! Because it was open, they could see helicopters, the waterfalls and that were going next door and they just loved the scenery. The staff just made them feel really welcome. It’s made it easier for me to leave them, because at that time I wasn’t sort of confident about raising them.
Jeddah Charles, Kindergarten Teacher: My name is Jeddah Charles, I’m a Mati Mati Yorta Yorta woman, I have also been at Bubup Wilam for four years – now I am the kindergarten teacher in the Taunurung room which is the four year old room. Janet Maclean, Pedagogical Leader: We’re an Aboriginal child family centre and we have only Aboriginal families and children who attend this centre, at the moment we have about 52 children who come into the centre from babies through to 6 year olds. Half of the work we do is long day care and kinder, the other half is working with families.
Lisa Thorpe, Bubup CEO: Been heavily involved in community engagement. The parents are coming in, they’re going to the aquatic centre next door, and it’s building up a whole healthy lifestyle. The earlier they come and the longer they stay, the more opportunity you actually have to do some enhanced programs. The kids have a swimming program, there’s a nutrition program.
Janet Maclean, Pedagogical Leader: Learning through story is an absolutely natural way of introducing children to literacy and numeracy. We can see what they’re thinking and hear what they’re thinking when they play, and that is the way that we can then build on their learning through knowing what they’re thinking about.
Jeddah Charles, Kindergarten Teacher: I suppose that’s what’s different from other centres here – our centre here, we carry a lot of trauma that’s come down from the history.
Janet Maclean, Pedagogical Leader: Some of the non-Aboriginal staff find it difficult to deal with that.
Jeddah Charles, Kindergarten Teacher: We have a high ratio of staff to the children, but we need that. Janet Maclean, Pedagogical Leader: What we’re saying is their suitcase is packed with a lot of things that they need to unpack and replace with things that are going to help them to go on with the journey.
Jeddah Charles, Kindergarten Teacher: A child who’s just gone off to school this year, we’ve had him for 3 years, and when he first started coming to Neeble Street, I actually was, I didn’t know how to deal with him, just in the sense that I would go near him and he would scream and he wouldn’t play alongside other children and he just would hover everything together and not share and just working with him, like he had a speech pathologist come in here through Melbourne city mission and by the end of last year, everyone was just blown away by the changes that he had come through, and even his dad, he really loved Bubup for the changes and for the support that we’d given him.
Thorne, Bubup Wilam father: When I left the job to take the girls on, it was very hard to pay the daily fees, but here they let me know about you could be eligible for this payment help. The other day cares, when I signed up with them, they never mentioned that help they could give me, you know, I had them in day care for 12 hours a day. The food I was cooking wasn’t very healthy and when I let Jeanette and Jeddah and Dianne know well I got into a healthy lifestyle sort of course which gave me some ideas of how to read the food, sugar contents and things like that, which made the family life a lot easier actually.
Lisa Thorpe, Bubup CEO: We don’t need to teach them how to take care of their children, we need to help create spaces with them so they can engage with their kids. Not being able to engage, you know, unemployment and housing, you know all those issues and even domestic violence and whatever else they’re dealing with in their lives, whatever other tag you want to put on them, if they’re dealing with that, the child is the impact as well.
Janet Maclean, Pedagogical Leader: Jeddah can relate back to when she was a child and the issues that you (Jeddah) had as a child and can recognise that in the children here, but I think Jeddah has been able to move on from that in terms of, as she says, through her education, through the connections that you’ve had here (Bubup Wilam).
Jeddah Charles, Kindergarten Teacher: It’s powerful, there’s two of us now in the centre and there’s a couple of other, two other Aboriginal staff are studying for their Bachelor at the moment. Janet Maclean, Pedagogical Leader: One of the big parts of the program apart from anything we do with the children is working with the staff so that eventually we will be able to employ more Aboriginal staff.
Lisa Thorpe, Bubup CEO: As an Aboriginal board that we actually have, if they’re not working in community organisations they’re working in other places, like the President, Karen, is at the northern hospital, the liaison officer there, so she brings in a whole lot of linking herself.
Thorne, Bubup Wilam father: After here they go to the primary school which is only up the road. They come down and read to the kids when they’re in the year 4 kinder part, so that made me feel a bit more confident about going in to the next step with the girls, knowing that they’re going to have people in there that know them.
Leon Bell, Principal, Thomastown West Primary School: We have gone from one Indigenous student in 2009 to last year we had 20 and we are now 5 per cent Indigenous. The Principal from the Thomastown Secondary College is also seeing the fact that soon she’s going to get these Aboriginal students coming through her school so we’re developing strategies from 0 through to VCE and eyond for Aboriginal students. So the transition for the students and their families is really great because it can be tricky for some schools and some school Principals to work with the Aboriginal community, understanding what do you want. Bubup Wilam have been fantastic as an advisory board particularly to me as a Principal.
Lisa Thorpe, Bubup CEO: School leavers is not going to change if we don’t get it right down here. If I’m a low income parent that’s on a parent, they get two days paid, they get the third one at a reduced rate, but the last two days of the week they have to pay full fees. And so we don’t get the child to come in and so you don’t make any gain. The child will come in two days and then they’re home for five, they come in two days and then they’re home for five, so you don’t have that consistency of learning pattern. The fees cannot dictate the length a child needs to be here.
Jeddah Charles, Kindergarten Teacher: I think when you have parents that want to… A lot of them, public transport, they’d be catching trains and busses, but they want their children to come here, they need their children to come here. And we obviously want them here as well. Lisa Thorpe, Bubup CEO: I think there’s about 1,400 children in schools, in the northern suburbs, there’s six or seven babies born out here a month in the northern suburbs. It’s huge. We only take 65 children here. So this centre needs to be replicated again and again and again and again.
Leon Bell, Principal, Thomastown West Primary School: We want to see this keep going, because we’re only just beginning to get this happening you know.
Thorne, Bubup Wilam father: I just got more confident. So, well, three years later I’ve still got them. They get cuddles off the reception, the teachers. It’s like they draw a little bit more attention to my babies.
Jeddah Charles, Kindergarten Teacher: He was six months old and I said, oh how’s he going, because I wasn’t in the babies room, she said oh he’s fine and now he’s walking. She goes, I’m worried because he doesn’t like to stay here now, like at home, he’ll get his bag and he’s waving, like see you later, like I’m going to school, but yeah, this is their safe place.
Thorne, Bubup Wilam father: I feel I owe a lot to Bubup Wilam. They’ve kept us together you know.