Story by Educator Sofia
Recently the children in Johnson House were introduced to Indigenous techniques for making leaf baskets using palm tree sheets that we collected from the grounds of The Infants’ Home. This experience followed up on the children’s interest in collecting and using natural resources in their everyday learning, and it added Aboriginal perspectives on tool making to extend on this interest.
We left the sheets to soak in water overnight so that they were pliable and ready to be used and turned into baskets the following morning. Before starting to use the sheets, the children and Educators talked about the origins of this technique, learning that Aboriginal people used to leave the sheets in river water to make them malleable. We also discussed the importance of being mindful and respectful when taking resources from the Land, and how we should only harvest what we are going to use and not waste natural resources.
After this discussion, the children were shown how to fold the sides of the palm tree sheets to make a basket. Educators asked the children what we could use the baskets for. One of the children suggested “Maybe we can put our toys in there”. After helping to make two big baskets, the children then had a go at using the palm leaves to make their own creations. It was lovely to see the children’s creativity at work; they were really curious about this technique and they executed it in a very respectful way.
We look forward to continuing to embed Aboriginal perspectives into our learning to help children to grow and learn to appreciate this beautiful culture.