May Murray ELC praised for strong cultural partnerships throughout pandemic
Educators and leaders from May Murray Early Learning Centre in Sydney’s Inner West have been profiled by the New South Wales Department of Education, drawing praise for the way in which they continued to nurture a strong partnership with the Gujaga Foundation through the pandemic, supporting children attending the service to engage with Dharawal culture and language.
Dharawal woman Sophie Youngberry works as a Gujaga educator and has been attending the service since mid-2020 to teach the children the Dharawal language and culture.
“We feel incredibly privileged to be working with the Gujaga Foundation, to ensure our children know the true history of this land,” service representative Beth said.
“We believe that embedding an appreciation of the culture and language of our First Nations peoples should be at the foundation of all early childhood education.”
Dharawal was the first Aboriginal language heard by Europeans over 250 years ago,Gujaga Foundation Chairperson and proud Dharawal man Raymond Ingrey explained, and Gujaga educators are the descendants of those people.
“Our children should have Dharawal language and culture all around them, and for us it not only shows how far the Australian community has come, but also makes us proud as we want to share our unique culture,” Raymond said.
Engaging children in culture through play based learning
In 2021, due to COVID disruptions, the service moved to a play-based delivery of lessons to engage the children. This model, Beth explained, allows the children to have fun and makes it an easy transition to learning the language.
May Murray’s partnership with the Gujaga Foundation is set to continue, with plans to extend language education to both the staff and families to ensure Dharawal language is embedded throughout the children’s day.
May Murray was one of 50 early childhood education services across NSW to receive funding under the 2021 Community Grants Program, which has enabled them to continue their strong partnership with Gujaga Foundation.
To learn more about May Murray please see here.
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