Threads of First Nations culture strong with early years to senior push
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Threads of First Nations culture strong with early years to senior push

by Freya Lucas

June 16, 2022

Funding from the NSW Department of Education aimed at bolstering First Nations languages and culture in schools with a high enrolment of Aboriginal preschoolers is helping Indigenous students feel more connected to their culture throughout their schooling life cycle.


Seven regional NSW languages are being taught, depending on the location, including Bundjalung, Gamilaraay, Gumbaynggirr, North West Wiradjuri, Paakantji, Dunghutti and Gomeroi.


The funding allows schools and early childhood sites to hire a community member or organisation to deliver the program, with children as young as three years of age being exposed to language through daily games and activities as well as dialect being incorporated into everyday language use. 


Local educators credit the program for helping First Nations children and teachers to feel more connected to culture and language, and for showing non-Indigenous children the importance of respecting the Indigenous community and country.


At Wellington Preschool early childhood teacher Allison Grant works with First Nations teacher Sophie Lousick two days a week, but Wiradjuri language is present on all five days. 


“We sing along with the children and encourage the children to participate,” Ms Grant told the ABC.


“Then the words that we’re learning as well, along with the children, are incorporated into our everyday routines and our conversations during the day at preschool.”


Ms Lousick said she felt proud to be working with so many Indigenous children.


“We’re very lucky to have them. They show us a lot of different things through their culture as well,” she said. “It’s so good just to be able to support the children and help them out throughout the whole year.”


To learn more about how preschool is simply the beginning of a lifelong journey of language and connection to culture please review the ABC coverage of this story

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