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Proud in culture, strong in spirit

04 August 2021, Impact of Our Work

Children celebrate their Koori culture at Mooroopna Kindergarten

At Save the Children’s Mooroopna Kindergarten, Koori Engagement Workers Liz Cleary and Naomi Charles are reflecting on the recent excursion for the centre’s three and four-year-olds. They took them to the Bangerang Cultural Centre – Australia’s first Aboriginal Museum in nearby Shepparton.
 
There, the children heard from Clinton the Bangerang Cultural Centre facilitator. He talked about the artefacts displayed, explaining what they were used for. Clinton also played the didgeridoo for the children, leading them to get up and engage with the music played.

Understanding and appreciating Koori culture

Liz is a proud Noongar woman and Naomi is a proud Yorta Yorta woman, and they know it’s important to share their culture with children at a young age. They say they need to demonstrate leadership to the younger generation, by being proud of their culture and recognising the importance of learning about their culture.
 
Here at Mooroopna, Liz and Naomi are supporting the existing Aboriginal culture embedded in the Kindergarten’s curriculum, and are working towards supporting Koori kids from other kindergartens to engage in their early years learning. Liz and Naomi believe they have a real chance to connect with the children; help them engage further in their cultural education and get them school-ready.

Helping children get school-ready

“Our role is to get the children and families engaged with the kindergarten program and get them engaged in other early childhood programs, like our HIPPY program and other playgroups. We help them work through any barriers around attendance,” says Liz.

Their role also involves educating the children, not just Koori children, on Aboriginal culture. It’s a role they both enjoy.

It’s about helping the children on their learning journey.

Liz

Soon, many of the four-year-olds will head off to Prep. But it won’t be goodbye. The kindergarten is a strong part of the community, and parents and children often pop back to say hello to their former educators.

“We know a lot of the older kids that used to go there, still feel that connection with the kindergarten and will still come in and say hello to the kindergarten staff. We love hearing those stories,” says Naomi.  
 
With a strong early education foundation, with support from Liz and Naomi, and pride in their identity, the children will march off into the world, prepared to face its challenges Proud in culture, strong in spirit.
 
The theme of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day (4 August) 2021 is Proud in culture, strong in spirit. A theme Save the Children celebrates.

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