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The Crescent commemorates National Sorry Day

Goodstart centres

A showcase of Aboriginal performances kicked off celebrations by the children and families of The Crescent Early Learning Centre on National Sorry Day.

The morning tea event included performances of singing and music, stories, painting and the planting of a ‘sea of hands’ garden which symbolises reconciliation, rights and respect.

The Crescent centre director Jo-anne Garland-Walkerden believes events such as this are important to help children develop an understanding of Indigenous perspectives and different cultures.

“We believe it is our role as early childhood educators to establish an authentic partnership with the Gadigal people, who are traditional owners of this land, to develop the sense of belonging and respect to the land and Aboriginal history,” Ms Garland-Walkerden said.

“Our service represented a mix of aboriginal cultures from different nations and we teach the children about the Aboriginal cultures and languages within our centre and community.

“The language of our local area has unfortunately been lost but there are many Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi people in Sydney. I’m Kamilaroi myself and can speak both, so we teach words and songs to the children in those languages”.

Children were fascinated by the sounds, vibrations and artwork of the three didgeridoos played by Ben Lange, whose daughter is in the nursery room at the centre. Ben’s ancestry is from Marra nation in Arnhem Land.

“The didgeridoo isn’t a traditional instrument from this area, so the performance highlights the variation of ethnicity within the Indigenous community.

“The children were exposed to cultural diversities through the instrument itself, the sounds created and the beautiful artwork that was crafted on the didgeridoo.

“Ben shared stories about his totem and how his grandpa taught him to play didgeridoo. It was a valuable and meaningful experience to children, educators and families to explore the diversity of culture, history and tradition.”

Children and families were also taught to sing ‘heads, shoulders knees and toes’ in Wiradjuri language by Aunty Darlene Proberts and her guitarist Paul Ahsan, while artists Gary Dunn, William Smith and Mariah Muddle painted totems of the Indigenous children and educators at the centre.

“It has been an amazing learning opportunities for all of us, to discover the wealth of the knowledge and tradition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Ms Garland-Walkerden said.

“The theme for National Reconciliation Week 2017 is “let’s take the next steps”. If feels like we’ve done that today.”
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