Learning about the traditional owners of their local area has been a highlight for the kindergarten children at Southport Catholic Parish Long Day Care + Kindergarten. Director Brenda Fabri said the service drew on the children’s love of stories and developing sense of what makes every person unique to create a cultural learning experience around the language, customs and traditions of the Yugambeh people.
During weekly visits local indigenous educator Kimberley Irwin engages the children in creative experiences, using music, art and storytelling to help them understand and celebrate the uniqueness of the local indigenous culture.
“The children can now sing ‘Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ in Yugambeh. They can introduce themselves, explain how they are feeling and name local flora and fauna including ‘rock’ (manal) and ‘tree’ (tullei). They use this language during bush kindy and are excitedly sharing their new-found knowledge with family at home. We focus on providing learning opportunities that reflect the children’s interests and so have extended this program as the children have continued to show enthusiasm for learning about the Yugambeh people and their culture,” said Brenda.
As part of this extension the children recently visited the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre at Burleigh Heads, which is fully owned and operated by the local Aboriginal people. The children participated in an immersive experience, specifically designed for young people, aimed at further developing their cultural awareness. As part of the tour, the children explored Burleigh Headland (known as the Dreaming Mountain – Jellurgal), discovered how to find ochre and the important uses for native flora and fauna in the local culture.
“The children were able to practice their Yugambeh with new friends from the cultural centre, which was really special,” said Brenda. “It’s always lovely to have the opportunity to practice new knowledge and skills. It builds a tremendous amount of confidence”.
Southport Catholic Parish Long Day Care + Kindergarten cares for children from 15 months to school aged, runs an approved kindergarten program and is operated by Catholic Early EdCare. Applications for 2020 are now open.
Thanks to Archdiocese of Brisbane for this story!