Cultural connections in early childhood: Learning through conversations between educators and children


  • Gwendalyn Webb University of Newcastle



early childhood, Aboriginal children, communication, identity


This research aimed to explore the conversations between Aboriginal children and their educators in early childhood contexts. The research particularly focused on the relevance of these conversations for developing children’s identity. Participants were Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children and educators, who participated in conversations in early childhood education and care (ECEC) contexts. Qualitative analysis of 26 interactions was conducted using an Indigenist approach. Analysis revealed a broad range of topics that were discussed in the interactions, with an overarching theme of social interaction and communication. Within this umbrella theme, educators focused on skill development and scaffolding children’s interactions and communication. This research highlights how educators in the ECEC context focus on developing children’s identity and skills through social interactions. Aboriginal educators integrated their cultural knowledge and experiences to develop Aboriginal children’s skills and scaffold their communication, in preparation for transition into a mainstream formal education system.


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Author Biography

Gwendalyn Webb, University of Newcastle

Gwendalyn is a lecturer in speech pathology at the University of Newcastle, Australia. She practiced clinically as a consultant speech pathologist to the Awabakal Children’s Services between 2008 to 2012, during which time many discussions took place and research questions were raised by colleagues within the community. The relationships that were developed during this time have continued and expanded. This research was conducted on Awabakal land in collaboration with Aboriginal people. Gwendalyn is continually grateful for the ongoing learnings that she has gained from these relationships. In this paper, Gwendalyn seeks to share some of these learnings, with permission from the community, and acknowledges the strength and wisdom of her Aboriginal colleagues.


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How to Cite

Webb, G. (2022). Cultural connections in early childhood: Learning through conversations between educators and children. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 51(2).