Now More Than Ever: Resources to reflect on National Reconciliation Week with children

24 May 2024

From the 27th of May to the 3rd of June, Australia will mark National Reconciliation Week. Dates that are hugely significant as they acknowledge both the successful 1967 Referendum and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

Together these achievements saw Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people acknowledged as equal citizens meaningfully counted amongst the Australian population, and recognised the traditional rights of Indigenous people, giving rise to important Native Title legislation.

This year's theme is Now More Than Ever, in honour of how far the fight for Indigenous rights and justice has come and how far it still has to go.

Reconciliation is a big, complex topic but this theme creates an opportunity to unpack what reconciliation means and how we as individuals, caregivers, and as a community can make space for connection, respect, and change.

Now More Than Ever
asks every Australian big and small to lean in to learn from and embrace the world’s oldest continuous culture.

Taking part in reconciliation can look different for everyone. Storytelling as a central part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tradition is a great place for you and your little one to start engaging with the peoples, histories, and perspectives of our First Nations community in an informative and positive way.

Reconciliation Australia defines reconciliation using five interconnected concepts- Race Relations, Equality and Equity, Institutional Integrity, and Unity.

Here are some resources to help guide a discussion on each of these areas with the children in your life:

Read 'Welcome to Country: A Traditional Aboriginal Ceremony' by Aunty Joy Murphy and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy

In a warm and vibrant introduction, Elder Aunty Joy Murphy explains, "The Wurundjeri Wominjeka (welcome) ceremony is a cultural greeting by the Elders (liwiki), who give permission for yannabil (visitors) to enter onto their traditional lands."

This bright and easy-to-follow children's book, perfect for kids five and up, explores the meaning behind a ‘Welcome to Country’ the traditional greeting unique to each Indigenous group. In sharing the welcome of her Wurundjeri people, Elder Aunty Joy Murphy highlights the impact a welcome, as one of the first cultural exchanges between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous communities, can have on those who gift it and those who receive it.

Lisa Kennedy, a descendant of the Trawlwoolway People, brings this learning journey to life with rich colourful paintings that make each page more powerful.

Mindful Colouring

Explore the NRW 2024 theme Now More Than Ever, using the Reconciliation Australia colouring sheet and learning guide. The original design features artwork by Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie Douglas, whose yellow, and orange shapes and lines share the message of connection and understanding featured alongside a chevron arrow pattern looking to a way forward.

Using the age-appropriate prompts in the learning guide, while getting creative encourage your child to reflect on what inclusion means to them by asking questions like ‘How does it make you feel when you’re included with your friends?’ or ‘What would you do if you saw someone was being left out?’.

This is a great way to introduce ideas like diversity and equality in an approachable way and can inspire young people to engage in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture more meaningfully through art.

Learn through film by watching 'The Final Quarter'

The insightful documentary following the story of AFL footballer and Indigenous leader Adam Goodes is an engaging activity for older children to learn about often heavy topics like racism, in a safe and accepting environment.

Watching a movie at home might not seem like a learning opportunity, but film as a form of storytelling and importantly, truth-telling, can create space for cultural awareness and allow kids to take on information in line with their emotional needs.

Whether it's stopping the film to ask a question or watching the documentary in parts to better understand its themes like bullying or mental health, ‘The Final Quarter’ offers thought-provoking lessons for children and the adults in their lives to open dialogue you may not have otherwise.

View the film for FREE on SBS On Demand.

Share First Nations Dreaming Stories with animated read-throughs

Learning to have compassion for others is part of growing up, and the more we learn about each other the easier it is to connect. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, storytelling through art, dance, song, and language is how they share their knowledge, stories and themselves with one another and the world.

Dreaming stories are a beautiful way to expand your child’s knowledge of Indigenous culture, and all the better if they come with fun and exciting animation! RedPixels Animation are award-winning creatives who host an array of historical and culturally significant stories via their YouTube channel that can be paired with written resources from Dreamtime to make learning an interactive experience. Check out their playlist HERE

Of all the young people The Pyjama Foundation supports, 33 per cent are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Reconciliation means ensuring their future is just as bright and their dreams are equally fulfilled. Providing resources for non-Indigenous Australians to learn from and that allow Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people to feel seen, is a first step in this ongoing process.

Learn more about how you can participate in National Reconciliation Week today.