Our Kukurra Tawarra Aboriginal playgroup aims to bridge the gap for families
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Our Kukurra Tawarra Aboriginal playgroup aims to bridge the gap for families

by Freya Lucas

September 07, 2022

The Our Kukurra Tawarra Aboriginal playgroup co-ordinators at St Joseph’s Primary School in the Kalgoorlie-Boulder area of Western Australia are keen to help Close the Gap by inviting Aboriginal families with young children to share in language and early education activities.


The playgroups name, which means “our journey together”, befits the programs aims of supporting Aboriginal parents or caregivers with their child’s early years development.


Shondell Perkins and Jayne Smith established the playgroup last year, joining similar programs across the State operating through the Aboriginal Families as First Educators program which supports families with Aboriginal children in their role as their child’s first teacher.


Ms Perkins and Ms Smith have studied the 3a Abecedarian Approach Australia training through the University of Melbourne and have incorporated these strategies into the playgroup.


Language learning opportunities, educational games, conversational reading and enriched caregiving routines are all cornerstones of the program, Ms Smith explained. 


“In Kalgoorlie-Boulder there has historically been a massive gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people so that’s why we’re here — to address this,” she continued.


As well as supporting longer term outcomes, such as increased retention at school, greater income on entering the workforce, and improved health, Ms Perkins said the program encourages parents to build traditional language and connection to culture with their children. 


“We have a few things around the room that are in language that we get them to read, we are also looking at locals coming in to do some sort of workshops with the families and teach our kids,” she continued.


More broadly, the program works alongside the Transforming Lives Program, run by Catholic Education Western Australia, which aims to double the number of Aboriginal students in Catholic education by 2025.


The program has been funded by the Australian Government through the National Indigenous Australians Agency.


Our Kukurra Tawarra playgroup is open to newborns to five-year-olds and runs from 9am to 10.30am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For more information please see here


Local coverage of this story may be found here

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