Asking the experts: Indigenous educators as leaders in early education and care settings in Australia


  • Michelle Locke Western Sydney University



early childhood, Indigenous families, Indigenous educators


The educational rationale behind the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives in early education and care services in Australia is grounded in effective engagement and support of Indigenous families. Additionally, this inclusion aims to promote non-Indigenous understanding and recognition of Indigenous peoples, with a view to strengthening reconciliation and improving outcomes for Indigenous children. However, a lack of confidence and capacity of a largely non-Indigenous early childhood educator cohort has resulted in either the absence or misrepresentation of Indigenous knowledges and/or perspectives. This paper presents research that identifies Indigenous peoples as the owners and experts of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives. Employing a qualitative approach from within an Indigenous methodological framework, the research engaged the expertise of Indigenous educators to identify and recruit additional research participants. From this research, it is clear that specific characteristics related to knowledge, experience and understanding position Indigenous educators as the most valuable and capable leaders in the inclusion of Indigenous knowledges and perspectives in early education and care settings.


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Author Biography

Michelle Locke, Western Sydney University

Dr Michelle Locke is a proud Dharug woman, and currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor Indigenous Leadership at Western Sydney University. In 2018, she received the Australian Association for Research in Education’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Student Researcher Award for her conference paper Wirrawi Bubuwul – Aboriginal Women Strong. Michelle’s PhD thesis examines Indigenous perspectives on culturally relevant and respectful approaches to the inclusion of Indigenous ways of knowing in mainstream early education and care services.


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How to Cite

Locke, M. (2022). Asking the experts: Indigenous educators as leaders in early education and care settings in Australia. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 51(2).