Childcare centres spark outrage over Invasion Day ‘indoctrination’

By Kylie Stevens For Daily Mail Australia

04:44 22 Jan 2024, updated 10:19 22 Jan 2024

Childcare centres have been accused of trying to make toddlers feel ashamed of their country by teaching them Australia was stolen from First Nations people.

More than 7,000 schools and daycare centres are registered with Reconciliation Australia as having a formal ‘acknowledgement of country’.

Many childcare centres have been urged to commemorate January 26 as Invasion or Survival Day while others recite an Acknowledgement of Country daily.

Childcare centres and preschools are the latest to become embroiled in the divisive Australia Day debate leading up to the national public holiday this Friday.

The move has sparked outrage from NSW Libertarian Party MP John Ruddick who accused childcare centres of ‘indoctrination’. 

The divisive Australia Day debate has extended to childcare providers (stock image)

Aussie Childcare Network, which is a leading provider of childcare resources, has created a calendar of events.

January 26 is listed as ‘Yabun, celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultures, Invasion Day, Survival Day, Australia Day’.

READ MORE: Bondi Beach to host Australia Day dawn service: ‘It can be considered a day of mourning’

The network suggests that providers mark Australia Day by flying the Aboriginal flag at half-mast, observe a moment of silence, or include an Acknowledgement of Country in the morning

Celebrating on a different date altogether was also suggested.

SDN Children’s Services Bluebell, in the ACT, teaches kindergarten kids about ‘stolen land’. 

‘The preschool children are used to acknowledging Country, and know they gather on Ngunnawal land, the place of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples,’ the ACT-based centre states on its website.

‘The foundation for this learning begins when the children enter the centre as infants.

‘Now older, preschoolers participate in enquiry-based learning – the daily ritual of acknowledging Country is built upon with explicit teaching about stolen land.’

The learning about First Nations extends to other activities such as story-time, singing and group discussions.

‘We think about how we can do something to be respectful and actually influence improved outcomes,’ the centre director states.

‘We don’t want to just teach about the injustices that have and do happen, but do something that contributes to countering it. So we teach and model respect.’

Children under the age of five are already learning the meanings of ‘Invasion Day’. Pictured is a young participant at a previous Invasion Day rally
Childcare centres have been urged to not caught up in ‘culture wars’ about Australia Day (stock image)

The divisive debate surrounding Australia Day has prompted some centres to not celebrate the day while others will do ‘green and gold’ themed days.

Early Childhood Australia encourages providers to build relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to bring about positive change to communities.

However, the peak early childhood advocacy organisation has ‘stopped short of providing too much direction’  to providers to ensure educators are mindful of the different connotations January 26 has for Indigenous families.

‘It’s the date that’s controversial,’ Early Childhood Australia chief executive Samantha Page told The Australian.

NSW Libertarian Party MP John Ruddick said that children were being ‘indoctrinated to feel ashamed of their country’. 

‘Every nation has a national day to reflect on what’s good about their homeland,’ he said.

‘Seems to be only in Australia we have this ever-escalating culture war and now we’re doing all we can to indoctrinate infants to be ashamed of their country.’

Childcare providers have been accused of making children ashamed be ashamed of their country by teaching them Australia was stolen from First Nations people (stock image)

Prominent opponent to the Indigenous Voice to Parliament Warren Mundine agreed that childcare centres should not be caught up in ‘culture wars’. 

‘Don’t they realise the largest group of Australians want to celebrate Australia,’ he said.

It comes after Indigenous Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price blasted ‘corporates‘ for shaming Aussies who celebrate Australia Day.

‘Australians are… more worried about the cost of living, they don’t want to have deal with the corporates telling them… how to behave or think or feel about the country that they love,’ she  told Sky News on Sunday.

‘I mean this is home. They’re sick of being shamed to be proud Australians.’

Warren Mundine added: ‘The reality is we’ve got so much to celebrate about this nation’.

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