Goodstart’s Secondment and Cultural Immersion program a success for Lynne Stone

Goodstart’s Secondment and Cultural Immersion program a success for Lynne Stone

by Freya Lucas

November 25, 2021

Goodstart Early Learning employee Lynne Stone was recently selected as part of Goodstart’s two-way cultural learning program, which involves Goodstart providing qualified educators each school term to work alongside local educators. 

 

Ms Stone visited Ndjébanna land in Maningrida NT as part of the Goodstart Secondment and Cultural Immersion Program, describing her time as “an amazing opportunity to learn in a completely different community, rich in Aboriginal culture”.

 

“Katie from Tasmania and I share the same house and we are working here at Manayingkarirra Child and Family Centre,” she explained. “We work with Indigenous community members, most of whom have their children in care at the centre.”

 

During her time with the service, she has learnt “so much” about Aboriginal culture, and has developed a deeper understanding of Indigenous practices. 

 

“The local educators have been very accepting,” she said. “They have accepted me as their own. In fact, they have given me a skin name which is ‘BELANYJAN’ and my dreaming name is ‘BARRACUDA’. Skin names are not usually given to ‘Balanda’ (white people). When I asked why I have the privilege to be given one, my colleagues said it was because they can see I am true and honest in wanting to learn their culture.”

 

“I have learnt how to sing ‘5 little speckled frogs’ and ‘Heads and Shoulders’ in Burarra Language. I can proudly say that I can sing this by heart without reading. I have been learning phrases in Burarra language that I use to communicate to the children and their grandparents. I write all the phrases down and make sure that I use them every day, so I won’t forget.”

 

Ms Stone joined in as Maningrida celebrated the ‘LURRA festival’ which means ‘Live together, Share together, Work together’. Before the festival officially opened, there was a ‘Smoking Ceremony’ which was held to show respect and remembrance for the past Elders and that they are with us in spirit, with participants walking around the smoke to smoke themselves before the festival begins.

 

“My Indigenous workmates have been teaching me how to dance their local dance ‘Yam Dance’. We practice the dance at work. On the day of the Festival, I danced along with them. Now they see me walking on the street, they say, “Hey, I like your dance!’, “ Ms Stone added. 

 

“I can’t wait to go back to my base centre and bring new ideas, cultural understanding and practices and to support Goodstart in strengthening our cultural knowledge and Reconciliation journey.” 

 

To learn more about Goodstart’s Reconciliation efforts please see here

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