New research project links learning experiences, First Nations culture, and language
Emu eggs, tapping sticks and other Aboriginal artefacts were recently used as part of a research project involving students from Southern Rise Kindergarten.
The Now Play Project was conducted by researchers from Monash University and looked at using learning experiences to support children’s language and literacy development through incorporating First Nations languages.
Through collaboration with Koorie Engagement Support Officer Tim Clark, children at the Kindergarten read stories, drew pictures, explored some Aboriginal artefacts and created paint with ochre and painting on paperbark.
The children also explored different Aboriginal symbols and their meanings and engaged in dancing.
For Wodonga Council Educational Leader, Jessica Pollard the experience was a wonderful one.
“The children who participated were very engaged and interested in the activities we planned and demonstrated their ideas and learning through their responses to the stories and their drawings and paintings,” she said.
“I look forward to the possibility of continuing the project next year.”
Highlights for the children included painting on paperbark with ochre and drawing symbols in the sand, as well as having a go at using the emu caller to make noise.
Videos recorded by the Council of the children taking part in the learning activities will be used as one of the tools in a toolkit to support and assess First Nations children’s language, literacy, and cultural knowledge, and for supporting Indigenous children with language difficulties.
The toolkit will be adaptable and useful to First Nations communities across Canada and around the world.
Widespread implementation of the toolkit in Indigenous communities in Canada, New Zealand, and Sweden will provide data for assessing its impact on children’s learning and on the knowledge and practices of family members, teacher educators, and researchers, the council noted.
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