meet Courtney Glazebrook


Courtney is a finalist in the 2018 HESTA Early Childhood Education & Care Awards' Building Inclusion category. 


Courtney is recognised for advocating for inclusive and culturally appropriate childcare policy, that ensures Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have access to quality early childhood education and care.

Courtney Glazebrook is the Director of Towri MACS, a multifunctional children’s service centre attended by a large number of Aboriginal families. Recognising the negative impact the government’s childcare policy changes had on families' ability  to access their service, Courtney engaged local members of parliament to lobby for change.

Courtney engaged local members of parliament to lobby for change

Through her efforts, she has secured funding for an Indigenous Community Liaison Officer. She has also implemented a range of care options so that families can access childcare services for more than one day per week.

Courtney’s work has raised awareness of the need to ensure government childcare policy takes into consideration the needs of those at risk as well as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

"The early education and care sector needs to provide Indigenous children, families and communities with equal access to culturally safe learning environments, educational programs and curriculum that encompass the cultural heritage, worldviews, identities and learning processes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," Courtney says. "Towri emphasises how early education and care can be reconceptualised to offer programs and practice that embed Indigenous perspectives in the curriculum, and improve the educational outcomes for Indigenous children.

"We offer priority access to Indigenous children in a culturally safe, and culturally competent learning environment. We create positive dispositions towards learning by encompassing an intentional cross circular educational program that teaches children to be strong in their Aboriginality first and foremost, while introducing western world assumptions and expectations about health and education services.

"The title MACS alludes to not simply providing childcare: it is a much wider scope of service provision that moves beyond the social constructs of an institutionalised approach to education. MACS is a highly integrated holistic model of practice that encompasses all areas of childhood development.

"Indigenous families view their children as confident and capable learners from birth, which is in sharp contrast to western worldviews that see children as ‘developing’. The ideology of ‘developing’ children is seen and measured through our education system in academic testing, which has presented our Indigenous children as deficient to their counterparts.

"We must assess Indigenous children’s learning from a strengths-based approach first and foremost. When Indigenous children’s connections to culture are weakened they not only risk losing their identity, but becoming lost to themselves.

"We bring Indigenous children up strong in their identity, culture and connections to country. If we are serious about closing the gap in health and education we must turn our attention to services that target the needs of the community at a grass roots level. If any policy reform is to be successful they have to be enabling, and aligned with a bottom up, strengths-based approach that is intrinsically motivated by Indigenous standpoints.

"We must advocate for the self-determination rights of Indigenous people, in having autonomy in decision-making particularly with regard to their children’s wellbeing."



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HESTA Awards