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GALLERY: Telerah preschoolers learn valuable ‘traditional’ lessons

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Keen pupils at Telarah Public School Preschool learnt several valuable “traditional” lessons during the week.

From the environment to water resources, Indigenous culture to Connection to Country, the youngsters were kept entertained – and informed – by members of the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community on Friday 30 May.

They also participated in conversations about reconciliation, via art and stories, much to the student’s delight.

Telarah Public School Preschool early childhood teacher Beth Cameron with Elley and Emily. Photo: Rod Thompson

“It’s something everyone looks forward to,” early childhood teacher Beth Cameron said.

“About 80 children, across four classes, took part in National Reconciliation Week activities, including contributing to artworks of wedge-tailed eagles and reading books including Sorry Sorry by Anne Kerr.

“Currently, the preschool has 15 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander kids enrolled.

“After reading Sorry Sorry, we spoke about getting along, being respectful, treating each other fairly, how to share and what it means to care.

“We also discussed the impact colonisation has had on the environment.

“That will lead us into our environmental protection learning experiences over the following weeks.

“It includes how Indigenous people were the first ecologists, protecting and caring for Country.

“Exploring reconciliation in early childhood education is an important part of becoming culturally competent, just like recognising and supporting diversity.

“It’s the foundation for further learning and further thinking.

“As well, it raises awareness through the whole family.”

After preschool educators attended a professional learning session last year, members of the Murrook Cultural Centre have been visiting the Telarah children every fortnight.

But, Friday’s stopover boasted extra meaning.

“We spoke with the children about Connection to Country and the story of Tiddalik,” culture heritage educator Cree Welsh said.

“Tiddalik is a small mischievous and very thirsty frog who appears in one of Australia’s best known Creation Stories.

“In the end, his greed results in all of the water in the creeks, lakes and rivers being depleted, resulting in the other animals working together to see it returned.

“So, the story teaches children a number of different things.

“They learn the importance of our environment and the preciousness of our water resources; the value of our Elders and the significance of listening to those whose life experiences can help us make good decisions; and to share and not be greedy or selfish.

“Most of all, it highlights the importance of teamwork.

“As part of the session, the children partook in rock painting and learnt an Acknowledgement of Country, too.

“And, as you can see, they thoroughly enjoy themselves.”

The Early Years Learning Framework emphasises the value of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander knowledge and perspectives for young learners.

“Embedding Indigenous perspectives is a shared responsibility of approved providers, educators and other professionals working in early childhood educational settings, regardless of whether Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children and families are enrolled in that setting,” it states.

“Embedding Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander perspectives in all educators’ philosophy and practice is a key tool to advance reconciliation.”

On-site public preschools, such as Telarah, provide quality play-based learning to children in the year before they start formal schooling.

They ensure schools are ready for the youngsters when they begin kindergarten and make the transition to school as seamless as possible for them, their families and teachers. 

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