Building meaningful relationships in Helensburgh – A note from Jane, Director of Helensburgh Community Preschool

CONTRIBUTORS

At the beginning of 2016 the team at Helensburgh decided that our foyer needed an update. We wanted something that reflected our community and showed something special about our location. Helensburgh is bordered by the Royal National Park on one side and the gorgeous Pacific Ocean on the other.

Marti, one of our staff members, was on her way to work one day when she noticed the beautiful sunrise. She pulled over at the top of Bald Hill and took a photo.

When we saw the photo, we all decided that this was what our foyer needed. This photo showed the beauty in which we are surrounded; something that the team, the kids and our families could all connect with.

We printed the photo and it arrived. Whilst it was a lovely print we thought we needed more to reflect our community in a meaningful way.

We brainstormed many ideas – naming the photo after local indigenous area, including children’s handprints as a frame… but none of these ideas really hit the spot.

We knew that we wanted to honour the traditional owners of the land but were unsure exactly how to do this in a respectful manner. We decided not to hang the photo until we were truly happy with the final result.

By accessing our local community, we were able to find out how we could achieve all of the goals that we were setting ourselves.

One of our mums, Kathryn Dalmer, had previously chatted with us about her love of painting. She told us that she would go to lessons in Maroubra. We showed her the photo and together we discussed how we could incorporate the two mediums.

Kathryn took the photo home with her and worked on it, sending us photos with regular updates. She really wanted to show through her artwork that our preschool was an important and valued part of the community and that the parents, educators and extended family are all responsible for the teaching and upbringing of the local children.

She has used traditional indigenous symbols to represent the children moving from their family into the wider community with guidance from elders.

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We would like to thank Kathryn for participating in our project. This now takes pride of place in our foyer and every time we look at it we are reminded of the importance of meaningful relationships with our families and the wider community.

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