Yirrkala Preschool gains recognition as Australia’s first very remote Excellent service

by Freya Lucas

November 18, 2019

Yirrkala Preschool, part of the broader Yirrkala School (also referred to as Yirrkala CEC), in North East Arnhem land, has received an Excellent Rating from the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) – one of only 45 Excellent services in Australia, and the first very remote service – to achieve this rating.

 

The school caters for students from Preschool to Year 12 and has an enrolment of approximately 200 students. The majority of students come from Yirrkala, joined by students from Gunyangara, Galupa and Birritjimi who travel by bus each day to attend Yirrkala School. 

 

The students speak Yolngu Dharuk, which encompasses several dialects spoken in north east Arnhem Land. Yirrkala School teaches in both Yolngu Dharuk and English – building on the student’s first language and developing English as a second language.

 

Quality Education and Care NT Director, Reece Ravlich, said the Excellent Rating “recognises Yirrkala Preschool as a leader in the education and care sector”. 

 

Yolngu culture is the foundation of the service and the workforce consisting primarily of educators from the local community to support children to learn and grow with a strong sense of identity.

 

The preschool was recognised for its partnerships with external organisations, their commitment to children that respects and celebrates local culture and diversity, as well as strong family engagement to enhance children’s learning and growth.

 

Yirrkala Preschool regularly invites school staff, community Elders and specialists into the service to run activities such as traditional storytelling and dance. 

 

Aboriginal organisations such as Yirralka Miyalk Rangers (female rangers) make bush scrub and soaps with the children and families. Dhimurra Rangers (male rangers) teach children about ‘Being Crocwise’ and take the children out on country to collect bush honey, make traditional fish traps, collect bush medicines and attend special ceremonies.

 

“I commend the Principal Katrina Hudson, the Yirrkala School leadership team and the Yirrkala Preschool staff for an exceptional and inspiring commitment to quality education and care that is required to achieve this rating,” Mr Ravlich said.

 

To learn more about Yirrkala Preschool, please see here

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