Story by Educator Russell
Sunday 2 July through Sunday 9 July was NAIDOC Week, which celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Gorton House toddlers’ room celebrated NAIDOC Week through exploring stories, both told and written, talking about the differences between times in the past when the Wangal People walked and used Wangal Land and what it’s like now, and looking at images and depictions as used by the First Nation People in stories, exploring colours, resources, lines, etc.
During one group time we touched briefly upon why it is important to recognise the original custodians of the land that we learn and play on before reading a couple of stories brought in by some of our families. Thank you to Aurelia’s family for bringing in How the Birds Got their Colours and Silly Birds & Baby Business and Hazel D’s family for bringing in No Way Yirrikipayi—a personal favourite of mine, which we read here in Gorton House often.
We started out with Auri’s favourite story, How the Birds Got their Colours, which not only has a nice, simple message, but also ties in nicely with our reinvestigations into emotions and displaying a sense of empathy towards our peers—a happy NAIDOC Week coincidence. We also read No Way Yirrikipayi. Yirrikipayi is a Crocodile within the Milikapiti Community on Melville Island, which is part of the Tiwi Islands. As we encountered each animal in the book, we looked at its Tiwi name and tried our very best to replicate it. The children were quite taken by the illustrations which were done by the children of the local Milikapiti Community, so in keeping with the interest and the notion of children drawing interpretations of animals, we’ll be investigating some of our own drawings, using the ones in the book as inspiration.
Over the coming days we will read more stories in group time and we’re also looking at exploring how the Indigenous people depict animals in dance and movement too, so stay tuned for more…
Story by Centre Director Amy
The children in Johnson House toddler and preschool programs celebrated NAIDOC Week last week and extended on our learning about, and acknowledgement of, the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through a range of discussions and experiences. NAIDOC Week is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and to participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth. The children have enjoyed reading books, engaging in music and movement, making symbols with playdough, ochre painting, learning about totems and using nature as a way of connecting to our land and our First Nations people. The 2023 NAIDOC Week poster was also used as a provision to promote discussion about this year’s NAIDOC theme ‘For Our Elders’. The theme helped to promote discussion about the significance of Elders and their importance in passing down traditions and culture to future generations. While our program embeds Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander perspectives daily, NAIDOC Week was a great way to further emphasise our rich history with children through meaningful conversations and play-based learning experiences.
Story by Playgroup Coordinator Rebecca
At our playgroups each week we provide art experiences for children that focus on experimentation and the exploration of techniques, tools and materials. There is no right or wrong way for children to explore and create.
Each child’s artwork is unique and entirely their own. The children can choose to be involved in art experiences in any capacity they feel comfortable with. We are there to encourage the children without directing them and we don’t impose any expected outcomes on their artwork. This allows each child to freely explore, create and use their imaginations.
We often theme or modify experiences to suit the children’s areas of interest or to help them to achieve their goals. We observe the children and allow for child-initiated ideas to be included the experiences..
Process art allows children to feel relaxed, focused and successful as they can express their feelings freely. When children freely express their ideas, it is easier for them to talk about what they have created and often, also how they did it. This sharing of ideas helps children to develop their language skills. Allowing children to create without an expected outcome gives your child the opportunity to compare, predict, plan and problem solve how and what they create.
As parents and educators, it is important for us to remember it’s not the outcome that counts, but the journey to get there