Contributors

People and Culture Team

Enriching the lives and minds of children and their families in their communities is the foundation of who we are at Big Fat Smile and the launch of our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan is critical for ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island children have access to culturally safe learning spaces. 

With a long history of advocacy, Big Fat Smile is proud to have launched our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) on Friday 17th February 2023 at our Koonawarra Community Preschool service in alignment with our values of safety, inclusion, and connection. Big Fat Smile has a history of developing partnerships with Aboriginal Communities and creating culturally aware services for families. The launch of our RAP provides a formal commitment and plan of action to foster environments that are accessible, safe, and inclusive for First Nations Peoples. 

Big Fat Smile’s journey with the formation of our first RAP endorsed by Reconciliation Australia has been two years in the making, commencing with the appointment of a Reconciliation Coordinator tasked with guiding and supporting us on our Reconciliation journey. The creation of a RAP Working Group and RAP Key Advisory Group enabled key stakeholders and champions across all parts of our organisation to shape and drive the development of the RAP. Throughout the process, the organisation was privileged to engage in consultation with Community, partnering with Aboriginal groups and advisors. With the support of the Executive Leadership Team and Board we developed and embedded an informed approach to our Reflect RAP that is embraced by educators and staff across all areas of the organisation. 

I am proud to officially mark this significant occasion, the start of Big Fat Smile’s formal commitment towards reconciliation with our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. We concentrated our focus on the areas of greatest importance and now we embed our commitment to strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians, but especially for the children, our youngest citizens“ – Kim Bertino, CEO of Big Fat Smile 

Reconciliation & Practice Coordinator and Chair of the RAP Working Group, Nicholas Lewis, stated that “Launching our RAP is important to the Dharawal (Illawarra), Dharug (Sydney), Gundungurra (Southern Highlands), Ngunnawal (Goulburn & Canberra), and Yuin (South Coast) communities where we provide our services. Providing culturally safe spaces built through consultation with Community, capacity building of staff, and reflective discussions are critical for an authentic Reconciliation journey for the empowerment of both First Nations and non-Indigenous people”. 

Co-Director of Koonawarra Community Preschool, Sharon Collier shared that “Reconciliation is important in fostering unity and respect among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people of Australia. It is about valuing justice and equity for all Australians while respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage. Koonawarra Community Preschool is committed to actions that support reconciliation.” 

Our Reflect RAP artwork Ngurra (camp meaning safe space or place of belonging) was created by Dharug man Kane Wright (Director of Deadly Ed) whilst living and working on Dharawal Country during his work with our services. We acknowledge the wonderful relationship we have formed with Kane and the team. 

The launch of our Reflect RAP is an important milestone in our Reconciliation journey to enable children, families, educators, teachers, staff, and Community to Thrive. Later this year, work will commence on our Organisation’s Innovate RAP which will look at ways Big Fat Smile can Innovate within the sector and Lead the way for our First Nations Peoples. 

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