How we are doing it
When people in a community decide to work with us, they lead positive change by implementing our Children's Ground Platform.
The Children's Ground Platform covers five operational or service areas: learning and wellbeing; family health and wellbeing; community development and wellbeing; economic development and wellbeing, and; cultural development and wellbeing.
Since our work in Kakadu West Arnhem began in 2013 and the Children's Ground Platform was introduced there, we have seen many interesting and positive developments.
Learning and wellbeing – a culture of opportunity
We have built an exciting learning environment with children and families in Kakadu West Arnhem, combining First Nations and leading modern education approaches.
We focus on children aged 0-8 to make sure they have a wonderful start to life, as the early years lay
the foundation for future learning and wellbeing. We provide five days a
week of centre-based and mobile early childhood learning, as well as primary class, evening, after school hours and holiday activities.
Children are learning in the Community Centre, On Country, in outstations and at home. We have Western and First Culture teachers and have maintained a 1:4 teacher: learner ratio. Through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Jabiru Area School we also work with the Department of Education towards improving educational outcomes in the region.
Family health and wellbeing – collective, not individual
Health is not individual for Bininj people – it is collective. We start with the child but we look at health in the context of the whole family, with the family health and wellbeing team working across all the other Children’s Ground Platform areas.
Our focus is on family and maternal health to support the foundation of wellbeing into the future. A key part of this is nutrition, with our team providing daily meals for children in our early years learning environment and for the community.
Every family is struggling with health issues, so we build relationships, holding family health talks in First Language to support people's control over their own health and wellbeing. We don’t wait for people to come to a clinic with an acute problem.
We recognise the impact of genocide and trauma and support the cultural practices that are so important when dealing with grief.
We also provide other opportunities such as counselling and art to promote healing.
Community development and wellbeing – our Community Centre is the hub
We create environments where opportunity, safety and wellbeing are the norm. We are part of the community and our members are our staff, directors, leaders and critics.
Community development and wellbeing underpins all of our work.
Each day our Jabiru Community Centre comes alive with cars and buses going out for pickups at 8am, early morning staff check ins, people setting up, having breakfast, chatting, making tea and coffee, laughing, tired, grumpy, hungry, excited – we get it all, every day.
By 9am formal learning begins. The Centre stays alive all day – the learning environment chugs along, while community meetings happen and office doors open and shut as people go about their day.
The Centre is also the hub of governance and leadership, creating the environment for local decision making, community meetings and young leadership development.
Economic development and wellbeing – long term independence
Our 'no barriers to employment' approach means 68 local people – who were all previously unemployed – work with us in flexible employment. They are engaged in areas such as early childhood, nutrition, media, health, evaluation and community development.
We are creating economic independence for the next generation by helping people to gain education and skills so they can get jobs locally or further afield. These adults are walking alongside their children as they learn. Their children are seeing them as role models and inspirers.
Cultural development and wellbeing – identity and rights
Cultural knowledge and practice arises in all of our operational areas – culture is everywhere, all the time.
The creative arts team promotes both traditional and contemporary practice – on any given day, artists are painting on bark, paper or morles (didgeridoos), as well as spearmaking, printmaking, weaving, making music, making string, telling stories and teaching.
The creative arts team works closely with all of our operational areas. Exciting things are happening as a result.
To find out more about what has been happening in Kakadu West Arnhem, read our 2015/16 Annual Report [pdf].