Koorie Kids Shine

Joyce Ward:

Out at Bush Kinder, the children all include each other and all work together and they cooperate.

And they just absolutely love learning about everything out there.

Leona Cooper:

Bush Kinder for us started in 2016. And for us, it's about giving the children a stronger connection to culture, country and community.

And we've had probably about 100 children go through our Bush Kinder this year.

Narjiic Day Burns:

We've had children here that are very quiet and shy in the centre. And then to have them out on country, as they’re walking through the bush, they just come out of their shell. They start talking more.

They are a lot more vocal and louder compared to, being in the classroom or into a room setting.

Joyce Ward:

I'm very privileged to be able to be on the journey with the children while they do their Bush Kinder programme.

The parents do trust us here and the children and families are just so involved and love being a part of that as well. 

Leona Cooper:

Out at our Bush Kinder, we do a lot of cultural activities.

We go on bush walks, we do lots of art and crafts. 

Just have community members come in and share stories about, you know, them growing up in this area.

So for us, it's about having that connection to country.

Teaching the children to look after the land and the animals and hopefully they'll hold that with them for the rest of their lives.

Narjiic Day Burns:

Another thing we always do is we do our acknowledgement when we're out on country, we pay our respects to our ancestors past, present and emerging.

We invite Uncle Rick every year.

So when we have the new children come up into Bush Kinder

We will have that welcoming and that smoking ceremony and activities where Rick will come out and talk about artefacts, all our spears and boomerangs and the animals and it's also teaching the kids what our culture had back in the day, you know, how we hunted and how we lived.

Joyce Ward:

And I don't know, like children, all include each other and all work together and they cooperate.

And I just absolutely love learning about everything out there.

That's always been my vision is for children to get the best start in the early years to hopefully set them up to succeed.

Now every child has the opportunity to attend a kinder, and we know the importance of early childhood education.

Leona Cooper:

I think with our children, we find that a lot of them have social emotional development needs and being out on country, you know, they learn to look after each other and work together.

The development just goes so quickly and their language develops a lot quicker.

Narjiic Day Burns:

Kids are gaining, you know, cultural knowledge, but they can also go home and teach parents and say, “well, this is what Uncle Narjiic taught us.”

A lot of mainstream kinder centres should implement stuff like this for the children and it's not just for Aboriginal children, it's about, you know, connecting children to the country and giving them that knowledge and how it was for Aboriginal people and how we lived.

And it's just as much a part of anyone's learning that's been born here on country, you know.

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