We live on the land of the world’s oldest continuous living cultures. Yet, across Australia, many teachers avoid including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in their classrooms for fear of being culturally inappropriate. Given the lack of education about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, it is unsurprising that teachers feel unsure about how and what to include in their programs.
However, the ongoing omission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices in our education system desperately needs to be redressed. Dr Montessori’s founding belief was that education is the key to social change. As Montessori educators living and working in Australia, we have a responsibility to help close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
These curriculum handbooks will equip teachers to feel more confident in embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in their classrooms by introducing a culturally inclusive, holistic, and authentic curriculum that aligns with key Montessori lessons across the 3 – 6 and 6-12 age groups. They will then learn how to integrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives within some of the key Montessori lessons and everyday classroom practices.
Amelia Cobb is a non-Indigenous Montessori educator living on the lands and waterways of the Garigal people. She identifies as an Ally to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Amelia read Indigenous Studies at Melbourne University and has worked with Aboriginal communities in Arrernte. Amelia is a Montessori graduate from Balmain Montessori School and is currently directing a 6 – 9 classroom at Montessori East in NSW. Amelia completed her 6 – 12 AMI training in Bergamo, Italy.
Amelia has developed a comprehensive curriculum: Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in the Montessori Classroom in consultation with Clarence Bruinsma, an Aboriginal educator from Yaegl country in Far North NSW. Clarence grew up in Aboriginal communities and has developed close relationships with the traditional custodians of these lands. He brings invaluable insight and knowledge to the program based on firsthand experiences of Aboriginal history and culture. The program was also developed in consultation with staff at Barrenjoey Montessori School, Beehive Montessori School and Brisbane Montessori School and has been reviewed by Montessori Teacher Trainers across Australia.