MercyCare shares how its services celebrated NAIDOC Week 2021

MercyCare shares how its services celebrated NAIDOC Week 2021

by Freya Lucas

July 16, 2021

A number of early childhood education and care (ECEC) sites operating under the MercyCare banner have shared the way in which they celebrated NAIDOC Week 2021, which was held 4 – 11 July, 2021. 

 

At the Ballajura centre educator Nikki brought in artefacts loaned to her by her uncle, a Wadjak man with strong connections to Ballardong and Wilman clans of the Noongar Nation. The children wore yarn headbands and engaged in songs with the clapping sticks. 

 

Nikki shared her knowledge of the boomerang and kangaroo skin as the children felt the weight and textures of these tools and materials. The kangaroo skin is used as a pouch which Nikki demonstrated for the children by draping it over her head and tucking the tail end over the rest of the body.

 

The Merriwa Early Learning Centre kindy and vacation care classes headed to Yanchep National Park for an Aboriginal cultural experience. The children learnt the emu dance, with one hand up for the emu head and the other resting under their elbow or behind their back for a tail. They pecked on the ground, looked around, scratched themselves and ran. 

 

Host Derek Nannup shared Dreamtime stories, introduced items including boomerangs, spears, shields, baskets, kangaroo bags and didgeridoos, and explained how to make fire. The Noongar people kept fire embers in a Banksia seed when travelling to make it easier to start the next fire.

 

At Kelmscott the children in the Chuditch room learnt to bake lemon myrtle biscuits which they also took home to share with their families, with the children from Landsdale also enjoying a cooking experience which saw kindy families enjoying bush tomato scones.The children from MercyCare Wembley used the thriving vegetable garden as inspiration, receiving new bush tucker plants and exploring Jambinu Zest (Geraldton Wax) using all their senses. Jambinu Zest has edible needle-like leaves and waxy flowers similar in flavour to a Lemon Myrtle.

 

Educators at Bennett Springs created Dreaming Story Stones using Australian animals and Aboriginal symbols. The children picked out their favourite stone and the educators told them a Dreamtime Story related to the stone. Natural materials of paperbark, gum nuts, leaves and sticks were used by the children to create beautiful artworks.

 

Educator Dona, at the Bassendean site, created a Derbarl Yerrigan (Swan River) model for the children to explore. When identifying the different objects in the model, educators added a tag with the Wadjak language name of the object.

 

The children from Banksia Grove had a special visit from Koora Middi. Presenter Greg Nannup talked about history and showed some amazing Aboriginal Artifacts. Children also made one of the first pigments used by humankind – ochre. The children crushed the soft rock, which contains clay, to create the ochre which they then painted with using sticks. 

 

At Heathridge, the babies painted hand-made tap sticks that they will be using for Acknowledgement of Country each day, while the kindy children had a go at painting their own Aboriginal art-inspired pieces. The children came together in a yarning circle to talk about what the 2021 NAIDOC Theme of Heal Country meant to them.

 

At Seville Grove the babies room got in on NAIDOC celebrations by exploring the different colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags before making shakers with the flag colours, identifying the colours along the way.

 

In Thornlie the Bunuru room explored Indigenous symbols and their meanings, while the children from Newman College OSHC went to Kaarta Koomba – the Rio Tinto Naturescape Kings Park – where they learnt about the Noongar season of Makuru, enjoyed Noongar storytelling  and a cultural scavenger hunt.

 

For more information about the significance of NAIDOC Week in ECEC, please see here. Information about MercyCare in the ECEC context can be found here

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