Jingeri Wallal Wahlu! Aboriginal for ‘Welcome everyone’
Several research studies have shown that exposing children to other languages and music at an early age helps develop and enhance their cognitive and problem-solving skills. It also encourages creativity through play, breaking down inhibitions and instilling confidence making them less self-conscious in front of their peers as they move through their schooling.
Opening childrens’ minds through language and music is an integral part of the curriculum at GC Child Care Centres and they have offered a Yugambeh program at their centres for many years. The Yugambeh language people are the traditional custodians of the land located in southeast Queensland and northeast New South Wales and their culture is steeped in tradition.
“Our program teaches children the local Yugambeh language through song, dance and stories,’ explained Kylie McLean, GC Child Care Centres General Manager. “As an indigenous woman myself, I am very proud that our centres represent our traditional custodians with a program our children absolutely love.”
Many of the parents at GC Child Care Centres comment on their children coming home and sharing dreamtime stories with the rest of their family at the dinner table, or they hear them singing songs in Yugambeh in their bedrooms.
The Yugambeh language is fun for the children to learn as the words have unique sounds that roll of the tongue in a different way to that of the English language. Singing plays a big part of the program with the children learning traditional nursery rhymes in Yugambeh language, generally with actions to match improving cognitive skills as well as gross and fine motor skills.
Several team members across the centres have Indigenous heritage to contribute to the program but other representatives from within the local indigenous community regularly attend to bring new and exciting learnings to the children. Recently an elder named Uncle Allen visited the Benowa centre to show the children how to play the digeridoo and perform a smoke cleansing ceremony which had the group in awe and full of questions.
The educators love the program just as much as the children. During NAIDOC Week an indigenous pre-school student brought his mother and grandfather into the classroom. They talked to the children about significant Australian animals and their meaning and dreamtime stories within the Aboriginal culture. “It was so interesting for all of us,” said Hannah Jebramek, pre-school teacher at GCCCC Bundall. “I love the community of this program and how it brings us all together through understanding and respect.”
When the Bundall centre opened two years ago the founding families and children created a beautiful Aboriginal floor art that makes a striking and relevant statement at the centre.
GC Child Care Centres also likes to take the children out into the community to give the program further depth. As part of their Bush Kindy Explorers nature-play program the children regularly visit different areas of the Gold Coast to learn about the local flora, fauna and history. One of their favourite spots in Burleigh Headlands which is drenched in Aboriginal history and cultural importance. The Educators explore the landscape with the children and they also visit the Jellurgal Aboriginal Cultural Centre which offers insight into the spirituality and society of the Yugambeh Aboriginal people.
GC Child Care Centres have three locations on the Gold Coast: Benowa, Bundall and Mudgeeraba.
Benowa Children’s Centres: (07) 5539 6144
Bundall Education and Care Centre: (07) 5539 2031
Mudgeeraba Education and Care Centre: (07) 5530 5563
For more information head to GCChildCareCentres.com.au or call the centre most convenient to you.
This article is supported by Gold Coast Child Care Centres