Connecting with culture the aim of program
An Indigenous yarning circle at Goodstart Cessnock is helping children connect with culture.
A yarning circle is traditionally used to share Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ culture and stories in an inclusive, respectful, collaborative way.
In an early childcare setting the children and educators sit in a circle inside or out on land to talk, listen or share stories and ideas.
Educator Lana Lane said the centre had been committed to learn about their surroundings and history.
“Here at Cessnock, we’re focused on building strong and respectful relationships with the Indigenous community, with educators embedding a culturally respectful program,” Mrs Lane said.
“A few years ago, we had an amazing visit from respected local elder and award-winning Aboriginal artist, Uncle Les Elvin, who painted a beautiful mural at the centre and shared his rich Aboriginal culture with us.
“To honour his recent passing, we wanted to do something in appreciation of his contribution to indigenous art and culture for the children of our community,” she said.
After visiting a traditional yarn the centre decided to build its own with the help of the children and the local community.
“We wanted our commitment to Indigenous culture to be genuine and respectful and something that would allow us to acknowledge the traditional land owners in a way that would be authentic and something we could do on a daily basis,” Mrs Lane said.
“We thought a yarning circle was a perfect way for both indigenous and non-indigenous children in our centre to develop an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander culture.”
“The children at our centre enjoy being involved in our yarning circle. They helped paint the circle and build a bush tucker garden which features a number of native and edible plants. It’s a wonderful, relaxed place for the children to all come together to listen and share stories” she said.
The centre's next goal is to connect and build relationships with various community gropus so they can continue to enrich children's understanding and respect for Indigenous people.