Themed my dreaming, my future, this year’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children’s day will be celebrated across Tasmania this week with Kutalayna Collective in Burnie and Hobart.

Connected Beginnings is a national program for children from birth to school age and pregnant women designed to offer steady, wrap-around supports to meet the educational, developmental and social outcomes of young people to ensure a smooth start to formal schooling. 

Initially offered as a state delivered education program, Connected Beginnings has been handed to Kutalayna Collective to deliver the program across Tasmania with local Aboriginal people, for the local Aboriginal community.

Face painting at a recent Kutalayna Collective event. Photo: Kutalayna Collective Facebook

Kutalayna Collective Connected Beginnings project manager Chloe Woolnough said connecting families with support services was a priority for the events.

“We’ve partnered with services in the area that are part of the collective to put on a day to celebrate Aboriginal children and to host a range of activities and start some conversations around how we can all work together to improve the lives of Aboriginal children,” she said.

Ms Woolnough said local program partners would be in attendance at both events, offering activities and services to promote healthy development of young people.

Nicki Arnol, kutalayna, her daughter Winter Arnol, and Winter’s Uncle Robert Arnol at Kutalayna’s NAIDOC Week event. Photo: Kate Glover.

“We’re looking at all areas of development for children and how they can be supported by hosting a range of activities that support the different areas of child development,” she said.

Whilst children will be busy participating in a variety of activities such as sensory play stations, arts and crafts including balloon art, ochre handprints and face painting, parents and families will have the opportunity to connect with local service providers who specialise in child development.

Support services including Hippy, Uniting, Tagari Lia, Burnie Works, Burnie Community Neighbourhood House, Burnie Library, Burnie Children and Family Learning Centre, Housing Choices and RecLink will be in attendance on the day, offering their services to attending parents and families.

Young people of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to attend Kutalayna Collective’s events this Thursday. Photo: Kutalayna Collective Facebook.

Kutalayna Collective digital communications officer Kate Glover said working with the community to identify needs and provide appropriate support was central to Kutalayna Collective’s work.

“A lot of the work is identifying within the community that is at the centre of the work, where the gaps and strengths are,” she said.

“We’re listening to the community’s voice and then, within the collective we advocate or work towards system changes.”

Ms Glover said while working with community, the focus remained on creating positive outcomes for young people in their initial stages of development.

“We focus on what needs to happen to make these kids health ready and educationally ready and develop so that they are ready when they start school,” she said.

The Pataway Collective Aboriginal Children’s Day event will be held this Thursday at the Burnie Community House in Shorewell Park from 10:30am-1pm.

The Kutalayna Collective Aboriginal Children’s Day event will be held at the Gagebrook Community House in Herdmans Cove from 11am-2pm.

Both events are open to all community members.