anti-bias-stories

Anti-Bias Award – A Recipients Perspective; What winning the anti-bias award means to me

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Cath Gillespie and Kirby Barker from Evans Head-Woodburn Pre-school talk about what it meant to receive the Anti-Bias Award in 2020.

Kirby

Winning the 2020 Anti Bias award for our service was an electrifying experience.

Over the past 8 years working at Evans Head Preschool, leadership and staff have embraced the power of change as we worked alongside each other, our families and community to advocate, educate and enact an anti-bias approach.
As an Aboriginal woman, I see and feel the process of reconciliation in action through our collaborations and learnings together as one unit. As we acknowledge country each day I see the flow-on effect and deep connection to earth each child has and then, in turn, takes home to their families continuing the healing of our country. Throughout this process, during staff meetings and everyday interactions, we are challenging our biases and rejuvenating our service to be inclusive of all children. Educators are genuine and thoughtful when challenges arise, using our knowledge gained through continued professional development, critical reflection, quality webinars and readings. We are empowered and skilled to practice anti-bias approaches.

Cath

As a recipient of the 2020 Anti Bias award, I can honestly say I was extremely humbled to be acknowledged. I feel so privileged to work in a sector which values diversity. That acknowledging our first nations peoples and acknowledgement of country is a driver for change and advocacy towards reconciliation.

We don’t set about each day going to change the world but in actual fact, we have the potential to do just that. In my experience working with an anti-bias approach doesn’t happen in isolation it has to be a whole team commitment and that is exactly what happens at Evans Head Preschool. Behind the scenes are extremely hard-working educators ensuring that every child and family has the same opportunities to thrive and succeed in our community. We have all made a commitment to learning alongside not only each other but families to achieve this, and as we are all aware to work in an anti-bias lens doesn’t end, the journey is ever-changing and evolving as to the needs of each of our families and of course the educators who deliver the program.

Winning this award helps to raise awareness within our Early Childhood community of the work we as educators need to do. The work deserves commitment at a management level, something we do well. Our community-based preschool values the diversity of each and every member and, from this, we are driven to ensure every member has a voice – from the youngest child to adults within our community. To make us strong we need everyone’s voice. The advocacy work we do around anti-bias means that sometimes we need to have tough conversations or to challenge our own personal biases. For this to happen we need to have tools in our tool belt, which comes from continual self-improvement, critical reflection and quality training.

The results of our work are evident, families want to send their children to our service, educators want to work with us, and we are noticed and set an example of how anti bias approaches can be embedded within an early childhood service. My next challenge is to take this important work into the wider community!

Early Childhood Australia featured the 2020 Anti-Bias Award winners in their blog The Spoke – you can check it out here Encouraging and courageous; the winners of the Anti-Bias Award – The Spoke, Early Childhood Australia (18 August 2020)