We Play, We Learn, We Belong is the 2019 National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day (NATSICD) theme with a focus on celebrating the early years and importance of early childhood education and care for young children.
With NCNS having 2 Aboriginal Supported playgroups we know that these 3 elements, playing, learning and belonging, are essential for young children to develop so that they can have the best start to life.
This year, NCNS Aboriginal Early Childhood Worker, Amy Lear, explained that she ‘wanted to go back to basics for this year’s celebration of children’s day, with an emphasis on connecting children with culture using natural resources from the land, native plants and looking at animals who live on the land, in the sky and the sea.’
The NCNS Early Childhood team did this by creating a range of hands-on, textural experiences inspired by that strong connection to country.
Ocean themed play so young children could feel the cool, wet touch of the sea.
Sand and shells
A Nature tent was created with natural items from wattle trees, bottle brushes, large pieces of bark and gum-nuts.
As children got to look and touch all of these native pieces from the land, NCNS Early Childhood Worker, Zoe Harris, talked about where each item was from and what they could be used for.
Beautiful red sand to explore featuring toy animals from the land.
Kids played with pine cones and ochre coloured play dough
We had a canvas so that the kids could create a picture of the sun and the mountains using different colours of tissue paper.
Not only is play important for children to learn, storytelling is also a huge part of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander culture, and a crucial way that Aboriginal children learn about the world they live in.
We created a space for storytelling inside the centre, where we had dreamtime story books that could be read, as well as real life stories that were shared and shown to the young children as they sat in a yarning circle with beautiful Aboriginal design cushions.
Children gazed at the miniature set up of a camp site created with all-natural materials, while stories were told about fishing and how to cook fish on the campfire.
After all of the exploring, we sat down with the community to enjoy a great feast of chicken stew and beef stew with damper, fruit, sandwiches and cakes.
The day was a celebration of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander children, who were immersed in culture, a day to feel proud, to play, to learn and to belong.
If you would like to get in contact with the NCNS Early Childhood Team, please call 02 4729 0442 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org