COUNTRY AND CULTURE
Traditional owners and custodians of this land have been caring for Country for thousands of years. It is important to understand and learn from traditional owners especially in regard to protecting our local environments for generations to come. This Eco-Focus will help the kids in your early learning centre share stories, gather respect for indigenous teachings and increase their connections to nature.
Early Years Learning Framework
1.1 - Children feel safe, secure and supported
2.2 - Children respond to diversity with respect
5.1 - Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes
4. Respect for diversity
6. Culture and competency
CHALLENGE: CONNECTIONS TO NATURE - BRACELET MAKING
Collected natural items
Extra string, beads, clasps (optional)
30 minutes for Step 2
1 hour for Step 3 - bracelet making
HOW IT WORKS
STEP 1. Preparing for the Challenge
Traditional custodians of the land have various uses for natural items. In this challenge, we ask the kids in your centre to get creative and find items in nature that could be used to create beautiful jewellery.
The first step is to walk around your centre or a nearby outdoor area and collect some items that could be used for making a bracelet. Some useful items include:
dried leaves and flowers
dried sticks or vines
STEP 3. Observe and Listen - Yarning Circle
You could have a discussion in the traditional form of a yarning circle. A yarning circle is a practice often referred to as listening from the heart. Children can share ideas, thoughts and feeling in a safe and non-judgmental way.
EcoMarines advocate patron Dr Robert Anderson (known as Uncle Bob) is a Ngugi Elder from Mulgumpin Quandamooka (Moreton Island). He has given a very special message to Early Learning Centres about the importance of connection to Country, observing and listening (video to the right). Play this video for your children!
Here are the steps for a yarning circle:
Sit in a circle in an outdoor or creative space
Introduce the members of your group e.g. name, heritage, age
Introduce focus question, for example: how do you connect with nature?
Share ideas and thoughts along the circle. A nice idea to to have a cultural item - perhaps shell, a flag or musical instrument to be passed around when children are sharing thoughts.
Once children share ideas, children can say 'Mil binnung' as Uncle Bob talked about in the video as a way of acknowledging that they have listened. This is Jandai language word from Minjerribah Moorgumpin (Quandamooka Country). If there is a local indigenous language in your area, you can research similar words.
Reflection - what did we learn? What does this mean for our everyday lives and environment?
STEP 4. Bracelet making!
Create your bracelets! Let the kids create the nature bracelets out of the materials you have collected for them. Take photos of the finished products and submit them below! Your centre can go in the draw to win a beautiful Aboriginal Artwork from Delvene Cockatoo-Collins- a proud Quandamooka woman.
STEP 2. Acknowledgement of Country
Share with your class that no matter where you are in Australia, no matter where you come from and how long you have been in Australia, we are all united by the fact that we stand, live, work, and learn on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Land.
Acknowledgement of Country is important for children to pay respects to traditional custodians, learn about traditions and understand the meaning of connection to country/place. You can use this template provided by the Queensland Government and personalize it to your centre according to your local language group of traditional owners:
“*Insert centre name* encourages and promotes diversity, fairness and respect for everyone and acknowledges that Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples are Australia’s first peoples.
We would like to acknowledge the *local language group* people as the traditional custodians of the land on which our service sits and pay our respects to the Elders past, present and future, for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of Indigenous Australia”
Delvene's Colouring In
Delvene has also donated some amazing indigenous colouring in pages! You can download them here. We would love to see how your kids have coloured them in! Please send us photos!
ACTIVITIES ABOUT CULTURE AND COUNTRY
CREATING INDIGENOUS ART OUT OF BOTTLE LIDS
Recycle a popular waste item and create meaningful art as well!
As bottle lids can be difficult to recycle or dispose of properly, why not give them a second chance and help your children learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditional art?
Collect bottle lids or ask families to donate bottle lids. Share dreamtime stories to allow your children to gain inspiration about what types of artwork to make, for example - The Rainbow Serpent. Get your kids to place the bottle lids on a hard surface to make the artwork and then educators can use hot glue guns or nails to attach them onto the surface.
Another great idea is to create flags out the bottle lids. The flags can be of the different cultures that your children are from as well as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.