Schools Reconciliation Challenge

Now in its 15th year, the Schools Reconciliation Challenge is an annual writing and art program for young people across NSW and the ACT.

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge supports teachers to meet focus areas 1.4 and 2.4 of the Australian Professional Standards. It is a way for students to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australia and contribute positively to Australian society, while meeting the objectives of the K-6 and 7-10 syllabus. The challenge also meets the NSW Curriculum outcomes for stages 2 and 3 in English, Visuals Arts, and History, as advised by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA).

Every year, we ask students to create artworks and stories inspired by a theme, and to reflect on what reconciliation means to them.

The 2024 Schools Reconciliation Challenge: Learning From Legacy: Healing Our Country

Knowledge is the key to our survival. The survival of culture. The survival of Country. It is through the perpetuation of ancient knowledges that Australia’s First Peoples have thrived as the oldest living cultures on earth. First Nations methods have enabled a vast practical understanding of the natural environment, one that has ensured prosperity and unity with the land and all it encompasses for over 65,000 years. Their ancestors have passed down knowledge of the soil, sky, and water, including sophisticated science techniques, such as those used to engineer the boomerang or navigate by the stars, which date back tens of thousands of years, long before Western science theories now taught in schools. First Nations kinship and language systems are some of the most complex on earth.

To ensure the survival of people and of Country, we need to reconnect to the ancient wisdom of this land. We must listen with intent, learning from the legacy of those who have walked before us. It is through their generosity in sharing this knowledge that we can hope to heal our Country and communities, building a better future for generations to come.

We need to look to the legacy of First Nations peoples to heal our country.

What will you learn from their legacy, and how will you use it to heal our country?

Register your classroom or school in this year’s Schools Reconciliation Challenge. We have many useful lessons and activities available to support your classroom planning.

Registered schools will also receive FREE access to exclusive workshops in the coming months. The challenge will be open until Friday 6 September, 2024, giving educators time to prepare their students to enter artworks that reflect stories, dreaming and reconciliation.

This year we invited schools to learn, share and participate!

Visit our Schools Reconciliation Challenge website and begin to explore Learning From Legacy: Healing Our Country


– Explore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dreaming stories and how they pass on important knowledge.

– Research the continuity of Aboriginal knowledges that have ensured survival and adapted to changing environments.

– Learn about Aboriginal land management practices and how they can heal Country.

In 2024, we encourage all participating schools to engage with the lesson plans and activities, and additional resources we have gathered for this year’s challenge to inspire your students to draw, paint, write or sing about their increased knowledge and understanding of the theme Learning From Legacy: Healing Our Country.

The Schools Reconciliation Challenge Regional Tour

Current Exhibitions

Reconciliation NSW in collaboration with the National Trust NSW invite you to view the 2022 ‘From River to Sea’, Schools Reconciliation Challenge artwork exhibition.

On tour from May to August 2024, the exhibition will be visiting the Blue Mountains and Maitland check out the Reconciliation NSW events calendar for tour updates.

The exhibition is the culmination of works created by High School and Primary School students across NSW and the ACT which communicate each year’s theme, along with student learnings about reconciliation.

Past Themes and Catalogues

2009-10 Reconciliation, the Road Ahead

2011 You Me Us

2012 Our Place

2013 Say Something!

2014 Our Journey

2015 Homegrown Heroes

2016 Always Was, Always Will Be

2017 Where’s Your Country?

2018 Our Voices, Our Future!

2019 Speaking and Listening from the Heart

2020 Caring for Country 

2021 Under One Sky: Yesterday, Today and Forever

2022 From River to Sea: Our Island Home

2023 What Stories Will You Dream?

Visit the Schools Reconciliation Website

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