Indigenous culture and traditions in the classroom

April 18, 2018

Graeme Briggs visited Strathmerton Primary School recently and explained how a didgeridoo is made. He also did a performance with the ancient instrument.

Strathmerton Primary School has been busy studying indigenous culture and traditions through the First Nations curriculum.

All schools in the Greater Shepparton and Moira Shire areas have access to the Kaiela Dhungala First Nations curriculum, which was launched last year.

The project was an initiative of local principals, indigenous groups and the Department of Education and Training.

Kaiela Dhungala means Goulburn and Murray Rivers, and the curriculum enables students to understand more about the culture, history and traditions of the indigenous inhabitants of this area.

Students from Strathmerton Primary had a number of experiences during first term, including a visit from Yorta Yorta elder Aunty Faye Lynam and a trip to Barmah Lakes to view some historic sites and to see some traditional artefacts, as well as playing some indigenous games.

School principal Geoff Weppner said the school’s leadership considered it essential that students brushed up on their indigenous culture because of its significance in the area.

‘‘The Goulburn Murray area has a rich Koori culture and as a local school we believe that all our students should have a strong understanding of that culture,’’ he said.

In class, students produced some great work, ranging from making up their own Dreamtime stories, to writing informative reports and creating their own indigenous artworks.

The school held an expo at the end of last term to showcase what the students had learnt and created during the term.

Parents, family and friends enjoyed moving from classroom to classroom to see the students’ work.

The afternoon opened with a Welcome to Country by Aunty Faye and a wonderful session from Graeme Briggs, who explained how a didgeridoo was made before he played a selection of ‘didges’ for an appreciative audience, followed by getting all the students up to learn the yam dance.

This term, Strathmerton Primary School is embarking on a new theme, ‘The Quest for Less’, which focuses on understanding more about the problems associated with the accumulation of waste, the effects it has on our environment and ways in which students and their families can assist in reducing waste.

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