In August and September, we celebrate the Noongar season of Djilba and recognize the National Indigenous Literacy day by celebrating the caried forms of storytelling of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples.
Djiiba was August and September and was the coldest part of the year. The days were clear and cold but occasionally were warmer and windier. The Noongar people collected roots, potatoes and hunted emus, possums and kangaroos.
During the winter period of Djilba, the local people sheltered in the woodlands and ranges of the Darling Escarpment, from the fierce winter storms coming from the Southern Ocean.
Noongars were able to move to inland hunting areas once the rains had replenished water sources, and when water supplies in the dry areas of their territory were thought to be reliable.
Family groups merged for collective hunting and gathering. Hunting occurred inland, especially as wildlife returned to rivers and lakes to drink.
Yonga (kangaroo), quenda (bandicoot) and waitch (emu) were hunted, and koormul (possum) were driven from tree hollows with smoke.
Snakes and lizards were hunted when they came out to warm themselves towards the end of Djilba. Birds’ eggs and young parrots in nests also provided food.
The tubers of native potatoes (Platysace cirrosa) were dug from beneath the wandoo (timber) during this season, and meen and djakat (roots) were collected.
BOHRA THE KANAGAROO
Legend has it that there was a time in blackfellow land when the night came down like a black cloud and veiled the world in darkness letting neither moon nor stars be seen. But as Bohra liked to feed at night, he objected to this darkness. Being a great wirinun, he put an end to it by just rolling the darkness back as if it had been a rug and let it rest on the edge of the world while the stars and moon shone out.
Bohra was very pleased with himself as he could now see to feed during the night and he could go about as he pleased on his four legs, for in those days Bohra went on all fours like a dog. One night as he was feeding, Bohra saw a number of fires ahead and heard sounds of many voices singing. As he got closer, he saw strangely marked figures dancing round and round the firelit circle. The voices grew louder and louder as the boomerangs clicked faster and faster and then the noise died away into silence, the figures stopped dancing and disappeared into the bush. Bohra felt as he had watched them, a strong desire to dance too. He reared himself on his hind-legs balancing himself with his tail and jumped round and round the ring behind the last man. The men turned and saw Bohra standing on his hind-legs and looked in wondering terror at him. The men began to dance again and Bohra just tried to do as they did. Leaving Bohra to himself in the ring, the men went away and after a long interval came back wearing rough looking tails of grass bound around their waist belts and began jumping round the ring as Bohra had done with their long tails waggling behind them.
When they stopped, an old tribal wirinun told Bohra that because he had come to their corroboree without being asked, he must be punished. He did not want to kill Bohra as he had shown them a new dance but as punishment, his tribe for ever after, shall move jumping on their hind-legs and their forefeet shall be as hands and their tails shall balance them. The tribal wirinun also made Bohra a tribal brother and as such, must forever keep silent their secret rites. As part of Bohra’s initiation into the tribe, his canine teeth were knocked out and his tribe, to this day, have never had these teeth since.
Ever since the men of the Bohra tribe have put on their false tails and danced the kangaroo dance at sacred corroborees as when Bohra was bewitched into going on two legs, so starting a way which all kangaroos have had to follow since and this was how they learnt to hop as they do.
Michael J Connolly (Munda-gutta Kulliwari)
(RAP Action 12)
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders histories and culture in our Kids College early learning curriculum
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures in curriculum planning, development and evaluation processes is a key and ongoing consideration across all year levels and learning areas.
Why is it important to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures in the curriculum?
Teachers and educators can make a significant contribution to Australia’s progress towards reconciliation by facilitating inter-culturally aware, empathetic, respectful and responsive educational environments. This was a key finding in The State of Reconciliation in Australia report published in 2016, which emphasised the critical role that schools and early learning services play in creating an informed, reconciled, just and equitable Australia. The report found that Australians’ knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures is limited (only 30 per cent believe they are knowledgeable) but most Australians (83 per cent) believe it is important to know more and strongly support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures as a compulsory part of the curriculum.
National and international frameworks and requirements
Australian teachers and educators have a responsibility to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures into the curriculum. The integration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions is a priority in national curriculum frameworks such as the Early Years Learning Framework and the Australian Curriculum, and is also reflected in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP– see Article 15), which was formally endorsed by the Australian Government in 2009.
What does this look like at Kids College?
We had an in-depth reflection on our practices and during our curriculum audit we identified our strengths and some ideas for new and exciting resources to add to our programmes. One of the keys to our vision for our RAP is out ongoing commitment to professional development which fuels the fires for more inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures into curriculum planning. Professional learning sessions that build understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures supports our staffing team to develop their own ideas, approaches and strategies when designing curriculum and selecting appropriate resources. Not just on special occasions but woven throughout our everyday practices.
Indigenous Literacy day
On September 2, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) held two Indigenous Literacy Day events, amassing an estimated Australian wide audience of over 500,000 viewers. This is a record-breaking event for a charity who pre-COVID, had hosted the annual celebration at the Sydney Opera House with a few hundred participants including students from remote communities.
The ILD Main Event – is a 40-minute visual story, sharing insights from ILF ambassadors and supporters such as Anita Heiss, Andy Griffiths and Archie Roach and a stunning performance of My Island Home by Jessica Mauboy. Viewers can access the full video or short segments of the video on YouTube Channel.
The Education Event for primary and early learners (3 -11 years of age) is a 25-minute event, featuring Jessica Mauboy, Justine Clarke, Cheryl Lardy and Andy Griffiths, with a book reading in Kriol and English, a melody in Tiwi, Mangarrayi and English and songs and activities with author, performer and musician Gregg Dreise.
The Dreaming story telling celebrating National Indigenous Literacy
The storylines, song-lines and Dreaming associated with the creation of all life form the basis of the Nyungar belief system (kundaam). This treading in the steps of our fathers reaffirms the beliefs, values, the social structures and fabric of the creation of the earth, the water and the sky and all things that live in and on it. We have chosen a few relevant dreamtime stories to incorporate into our programming.
We have a few sets of stories read by an aboriginal elder which we feel more respects the language and traditions of the magic of these dreamtimes stories. The dreamtime Kullilla dreaming stores as narrated by Michael Connelly. We use these stories to create artworks aswell which is a big part of Aboriginal way of life. The Aboriginal people did not have a written language but instead had a rich pictorial and oral culture, handing down stories and history in the form of song, dance, storytelling and art. From there we retell stories and use aboriginal symbols to ‘tell’ the story by using the symbols in the sand, use the sounds of the Australian bush to depict the story and act it out through our actions. This combination of ideas leads to a stronger more meaningful learning which underlines our respect for Australia’s oldest ancestors.
The Outback Countout
Resources such as the book ‘Outback Countout’ written by Norah Kersh help embed a layer of inclusion that is interwoven into our curriculum. This is a beautifully illustrated book that teaches young children to count and at the same time learn more about the Australian outback. “As a child I owned a picture book with bees so brown with gold in it, and flowers so bright that turning its pages was like stepping out into another world. Outback Countout has the same visual effect, only this is a real world all small Australians should be encouraged to explore.” – Norah Kersh
The Outback Story
‘The Outback Story’ by Bronwyn Bancroft and Annalise Porter is another lovely example of how we celebrate our shared Australian land.
This moving bush ballad about the country’s vast interior captures the Australian outback in all its moods. Written by Annaliese Porter when she was only eight years old, this book brings together a gifted, young writer and Bronwyn Bancroftt, one of Australia’s most celebrated artists.
Bronwyn Bancroft is a Djanbun clan member of the Bundjalung Nation. She illustrated her first book in 1992 and has worked on nearly 40 children’s books. She was the Australian finalist for the Ezra Jack Keats Award for Excellence in Children’s Book Illustration (1994), received the Dromkeen Medal (2010), and the Australian finalist for the Hans Christian Andersen Award (Illustrator 2016). Bronwyn has a Diploma of Visual Arts and two Masters degrees from the University of Sydney (Studio Practice and Visual Art).Annaliese Porter is a descendant of the Gamilaraay people and was just eleven years old when The Outback was published. She has been writing ever since she can remember, receiving numerous awards for academic excellence and creative writing in her home state of New South Wales.
‘Say Yes’ book reading by Jessica Staines from The Koori Curriculum. Once there were two little girls who were best friends. They did everything together. As they get older, they weren’t allowed to do the same things anymore. Because they looked different. Because of the law. This is a story about the landmark 1967 Referendum, the two women who came together to change the law… and how the Australia people said YES.
The Koori Curriculum is an Aboriginal early childhood consultancy based in Sydney’s inner west. Consultants at the Koori Curriculum facilitate a range of professional development workshops for educators that help guide the inclusion of Aboriginal perspectives in early childhood curriculums.
The Koori Curriculum is operated by Jessica Staines a Wiradjuri woman who is also an early childhood teacher. Jessica has worked in early childhood for over ten years in both urban and rural services. Whilst working in early childhood Jessica naturally found herself supporting educators to become more culturally aware and feel confident in embedding Aboriginal perspectives in their program.
Welcome to Country
Literacy that is inclusive and respectful for all of our shared Australian cultures is important. We enjoyed this particularly wonderful book with our children. It is called ‘Welcome to Country’ by Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy read by Aunty Joy Murphy and includes English and traditional Aboriginal language words. We feel this is how we can enrich our children’s experiences and show deep respect for our traditional cultures.
This multi-award-winning picture book is an expansive and generous Welcome to Country from a most respected Elder, Aunty Joy Murphy, beautifully given form by Indigenous artist Lisa Kennedy.
This book shows us their welcoming ceremony as a cultural greeting by the Elders who give permission for visitors to enter onto their traditional lands. Aboriginal communities across Australia have boundaries that are defined by mountain ranges and waterways. To cross these boundaries or enter community country you need permission from the neighbouring community. Each community has its own way of welcoming country. Welcome to the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri People. We are part of this land and the land is part of us. This is where we come from. Wominjeka Wurundjeri balluk yearmenn koondee bik. Welcome to Country.
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Kids College Philosophy
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With love, laughter and learning from your friends in the
‘village it takes to raise a child’
Teacher Jen and the Kids College Childcare family