Mount Barker Waldorf School: Reconciliation Action Plan

Mount Barker Waldorf School: Reconciliation Action Plan

Poona Warta Peramangk Nai ya Tandan

translated as Good Peramangk Country for little spirits (children)

by Ivan Tiwu Copley, Peramangk Elder


At Mount Barker Waldorf School our vision for Reconciliation is to

  • Acknowledge First Nations peoples of Australia and their enduring connection to, ownership and custodianship of the lands, seas and waterways. In particular, in this respect, we acknowledge people of the Peramangk Nation (both past and present) on whose Land our school stands.
  • Create a place of ‘two-way’ learning where people of all ages and backgrounds have opportunities to experience, build respect for, and proudly celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
  • With a focus on truth-telling, respectfully incorporate teaching about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures into our Steiner school curriculum, to promote understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, wisdom, spiritual perspectives and continuing contributions.
  • Engage with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, developing trust and respect, and building partnerships and relationships, through the cultivation of cultural understanding.

Mount Barker Waldorf School’s vision for reconciliation is a more just and equitable Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge, cultures and spirituality are actively valued for the ways in which they continue to enrich Australian society.

Acknowledgement of Country:

We wish to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of our region, the Peramangk People whose cultures and customs have nurtured and continue to nurture this Land, since time immemorial. We honour the presence of the Ancestors of this Land and whose irrepressible spirituality flows through all creation.

We acknowledge with gratitude that we share this Land today and sorrowfully acknowledge the historical as well as intergenerational costs of that sharing. We would also like to acknowledge our hope and belief that we are moving to a place of equity, justice and partnership together for the future.

The Mount Barker Waldorf School stands on Peramangk land. Our Reconciliation Action Plan was accepted by the Narragunnawali online platform late last year after much work by a committee supported by Steve Evans and Kerrilee Clarke. Thank you to SEA for their support to achieve this first step. The RAP committee made up of staff, parents and community members continues to work on the many actions laid out in the plan. Above is a copy of our vision for Reconciliation and our school’s Acknowledgement of Country. Acknowledgement is a step towards becoming a welcoming place for Aboriginal Australians.

Staff began the year with undertaking Cultural Awareness Training. This workshop was confronting yet insightful to gain an understanding of white privilege, creating a culturally safe school environment and learning to engage respectfully with Aboriginal Australians. This training was co-facilitated by an Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal partnership, Sharon Gollan and Kathleen Stacey with two groups of staff over two days. In the workshop it was clear that ongoing work was needed to make a significant difference at our school. It required all of us to not merely adopt a document such as the RAP but sincerely undertake actions that were genuine and meaningful. Little changes matter and even our staff signature on emails has changed to acknowledge that we work and learn on Peramangk Land.

Amidst COVID-19 restrictions, our activities for Reconciliation week, 27 May to 03 June have stayed within single class activities and will extend throughout the year. I was heartened to see the drawings of local animals and their names in the Peramangk language by the Class 2 students (shared below). Learning Language helps to develop a cultural understanding and is an opportunity for students to connect with the Land that is known as Mummarmurta, Mount Barker in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia.

We look forward to more activities later in the year including a mosaic and prominent sign for the front of the school to acknowledge that we learn on Peramangk Land at the Mount Barker Waldorf School.

Link to Mount Barker Waldorf’s RAP on the Narragunnawali platform:

Class 2 paintings