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Shandell Washington is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mentor in Toowoomba. She works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are starting their careers in early childhood.
Shandell strongly believes in early education and guiding children in culture from an early age.
‘You need education to get somewhere in life,’ Shandell said.
‘Having culture in early childhood is great for the little ones so they know where they came from and they can be proud of who they are.
‘It’s alright to stand up and say I am Aboriginal and I go to kindy and I’m going to go somewhere in my life.
‘We can stand proud and be proud of our culture.
‘If we have the opportunity to teach them culture then they will grow up with it and hopefully hold it strong and carry it on into the future.’
Shandell also works as an educator at the Learning Pathways Kindergarten in Toowoomba. She said it’s great to make such a positive impact on the children’s lives in the early years.
‘It’s good to connect with the children, to be part of their life and their journey, especially in the first five years,’ Shandell said.
‘We have an opportunity to show them what is right, what culture is, and to be proud of that.
‘We want to show all of our children the pathway and guide them in culture and bring culture back because we lost it and we really need to get that back.’
Shandell sings the Let’s yarn about kindy campaign song in first languages with her daughter, Annabell. Read the story behind the song.
Kindy is a safe and welcoming place where children learn about friendships, language and culture in the year before school.
Kindergarten (kindy) is a part-time educational program available to children in the year before school.
Community leaders and Elders in Toowoomba and Cunnamulla co-wrote the Let’s yarn about kindy campaign song in first languages.