Local early childhood educators collaborate with Fijian teachers

Ideas: Ecelina Rayawa, Kylie Law, Ella Jacka, Mereia Dimoci, Diana Hurford, Cedric Varcoe, Vicki Bagshaw, Dameyanti Nair, Vasiti Ratauluva, Alysha Hutchesson.
Ideas: Ecelina Rayawa, Kylie Law, Ella Jacka, Mereia Dimoci, Diana Hurford, Cedric Varcoe, Vicki Bagshaw, Dameyanti Nair, Vasiti Ratauluva, Alysha Hutchesson.

The South Coast is currently hosting some very special guests within the early childhood care community.

A group of six Fijian kindergarten teachers are currently working at the Victor Harbor Childcare and Education Centre with a group of TAFESA Lecturers. They join local educators and TAFESA students in sharing cultural perspectives on early childhood education and care, from their respective countries.

Early Childhood Lecturer at Victor Harbor TAFE, Diana Hurford, began the project two years ago as a way of fulfilling the desire of Fijian teachers to study the Australian early childhood education and care system.

Diana taught a number of the visiting teachers in Fiji during leave from her TAFESA position between 2012 and 2014.

Director of Victor Harbor Childcare and Education Centre, Ella Jacka, become involved through the Centre's partnership with TAFESA and could see the long-term benefits to both the Fijian Teachers and early childhood educators at the centre.

"The cultural exchange is an amazing opportunity for both our educators and children to grow in diversity and connect with a group of teachers that are passionate about education and care," said Ms Jacka.

Last week, all parties gathered with local Ngarrindjeri artist and storyteller Cedric Varcoe, to celebrate the International Year of Indigenous languages. Diana said it was one example of how the collaboration has meant the development of a rich and empowering program.

"It is a great example of our program's focus, which is exchange to inspire change," she said.

The fortnight exchange places an emphasis on topics including inspiring sustainable futures, supporting young children who've experienced trauma and leading staff teams in a democratic style.

Mereia Dimoci, one of the Fijian teachers said "it's a great opportunity for all participants to showcase their ideas about early childhood education and learn and reflect."

"Ultimately, when we consider how many children the students, teachers and educators will interact with, this exchange program has the potential to make quite a difference to humanity."