NAIDOC week is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the rich history, diverse cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the oldest continuing cultures on the planet and this year’s theme is Always Was, Always Will Be.

At Preschool the children have been engaged in experiences and learning opportunities to support this event by looking at Indigenous-inspired artworks and using their individual creative skills to represent their understanding. They created Aboriginal flags and painted natural materials such as bark and leaves in earthy tones. They watched clips of didgeridoos, and at relaxation time enjoyed traditional Indigenous music and listened to ‘Dreaming’ stories.

The children have also been involved in creating their own Indigenous stories using traditional Aboriginal symbols to share their story in pictorial form.

Bowen said, “I saw a waterhole near the mountains and the sun and moon were up high in the sky. I saw smoke coming from the burning trees so I climbed up the trees and found a snake. We had a drink in the river.”

Kara said, “I saw some mountains and at the bottom of the mountains was a river. I saw smoke and people throwing boomerangs under the trees”.

We also celebrated Diwali, a festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated mainly by Hindus and Sikhs and many of our Preschool community. In our Preschool program, the children heard the story about the origin of Diwali, painted diyas which are lanterns that are lit during the celebration and learnt the purpose of the festival that symbolises new beginnings and prosperity in the year to come. Some of the children talked about what their families plan to do in celebration and that it means having fun with friends and family.

Manreet said, “I did henna, rangoli with mummy, made sweets, go to the temple, make everyone happy and put lights in my house”.

By participating in these cultural experiences the children are learning the ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures. The children are developing positive attitudes and valuing cultural differences. The children are developing their understandings and appreciation for the land they learn and play on the Awabakal land. Through intentional teaching experiences, Educators are promoting a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing and being and cultural awareness in our local and greater community.

April Cooke
Preschool Director