Fostering community connections and cultural belonging at edge
07 August, 2023
Community connections are crucial in early childhood education as they establish a sense of place, family, community, and culture. At Edge Early Learning, fostering these connections is a top priority, as it helps cultivate a nurturing and inclusive environment that promotes children’s social-emotional development and instils a deep sense of belonging.
Edge Marsden collaborated with Indigenous artist, Amanda Diamond, from Yura Bunji Art to create a mural for the centre’s outdoor area, framed around the sandpit.
This artwork was designed in partnership with the children at the centre and features Edge’s green leaf logo, yellow and grey trees, a colourful pathway and magpies, representing the centre’s growth and connection to the community.
The trees represent standing tall and being grounded, the magpies represent the local wildlife shared at the centre, the pathway with the community circles represents each room from Nursery 1 to Kindergarten, and the handprints identify the children present at the time of the creation.
“What makes the artwork so special is children were involved in the design,” Edge Marsden Centre Director, Simone Miles said.
“We spoke to the children about what they wanted in the design, they asked for the birds as they visit us daily, and they also came up with the idea of circles for the rooms – this was all done in group talks when in the sandpit with the children.”
The mural has become a conversation starter, prompting discussions about its cultural significance and its connection with Indigenous traditions.
“We often hear conversations about where their handprint is. They touch the birds and bake them sand pies, and we talk about the colours and what lives in the trees behind us,” Simone added.
“The children loved the experience. The families watched it flourish and asked lots of questions about it during the painting process. Our indigenous families were also grateful for the connection to culture that we have created across our centre.”
The artwork not only has beautifully enhanced the outdoor area, but serves as a constant reminder of growth, belonging, and cultural respect.
Edge hopes it creates a lasting impact on the children’s sense of identity, pride, and connection to their community.
Edge Early Learning Marsden has also partnered with local organisation the ‘Murrigunyah Family & Cultural Healing Centre’. Once a month, Elders from the organisation visit the centre for a Murrigunyah Story Time. It’s an opportunity for everyone to connect and for the Elders to share their knowledge with our educators and children. The qualified educators also embed different cultural experiences into the children’s daily learning.
Community connections that nurture an inclusive environment are important to children’s sense of belonging and understanding of the world. Read how Edge Early Learning Eagleby connected with a local community group to give back for Eid al-Adha festival.