Gunnedah ELCs receive funding to engage pre-school aged children in Gamilaroi culture

Gunnedah ELCs receive funding to engage pre-school aged children in Gamilaroi culture

by Freya Lucas

March 15, 2022

Ten early learning centres (ELCs) in the New South Wales regional town of Gunnedah will receive grant funding to boost children’s connections with Gamilaroi culture, the relevant First Nations culture for the area. 


Mary Ranken Child Care Centre and Goodstart Early Learning Gunnedah are two of the ten services who will benefit from the funding, which can be used to buy and develop educational resources, employ an Indigenous elder or community member to teach culture, and encourage educators to further promote culture.


Speaking with local news source Naromi Valley Independent, Mary Ranken spokesperson Cherie Ison said the service will use its funding to engage local Gamilaroi man James Hogbin, known as Frog, to deliver a second round of a popular engagement program he ran at the centre in 2021. 


Children who participated in the program last year were able to have hands-on experiences which meaningfully connected them with culture through activities like cooking rabbit, kangaroo and Johnny cakes (bush scone), learning about traditional hunting techniques, native flora and fauna, and active language lessons as well as dance.


“They loved it; they were very engaged in it,” Ms Ison said. “The language was really good…by the end of November, they were all speaking different words,” she added.


Ms Ison said the program would start again in April and run for the rest of the year. The service is also looking into purchasing resources like hand-painted dolls.


At Goodstart director Amanda Magney said the grant of almost $10,000 would have “a positive impact” at the centre and would be used to purchase more cultural resources and to provide more resources and training opportunities for educators to deepen their knowledge about First Nations history and culture and embedding perspectives into every day learning experiences.


To learn more about the grant funding stream please see here. The original coverage of this story can be found here. Image features Peg Dolls – family set of 6 –  Lovingly handcrafted by Barkindji, Maliangappa & Gamilaroi business, Barka Arts.