Volume 31 Issue 15 27 May 2022 26 Iyyar 5782


Terry Aizen – Director of Kornmehl

Bush School

The Starfish were so lucky to make it down to Bush School on Tuesday morning. Donned in their rain gear, they set off for Centennial Park. On arrival the children discovered a huge mud puddle in the middle of our outdoor classroom. This was an invitation for some children to play!!

They jumped right in and had a ball discovering the beauty of mud and relishing in this sensory experience. Fifteen very excited Starfish returned covered from head to toe in mud, arriving back just seconds before the heavens opened and there was a huge down poor of rain. These experiences are invaluable and such a beautiful way for children to connect with nature and enjoy a peaceful, unhurried time in the outdoors.

Aboriginal Encounters

We have been learning and exploring Aboriginal art, storytelling and culture this past week as we acknowledged National Sorry Day on Thursday and National Reconciliation Week coming up from Friday 27 May 2022  to Thursday 3 June 2022.

The children have been learning about Aboriginal symbols and how to use these to tell stories and to depict an artwork.

On Thursday, we had the privilege of engaging in a workshop with Graham Toomey, the CEO of Gunawirra. Graham is an Aboriginal artist and designer from the Wurrumunga Clan of the Wiradjuri and Wongaibon Aboriginal Nations of Western NSW. His artwork captures his ancient culture and dreaming. Graham says: “my dreaming is my identity as an Aboriginal man and my connection to my creators, ancestors, history, homelands, traditions, practices, beliefs, values, lore and memories. My Dreaming is also my connection to the earth, its water and to all living things.”

One of Graham’s passions is to educate and engage young people about his culture, through regular talks and presentations. 

Graham is passionate about creating healthy positive lifestyles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, families and communities. He leads Gunawirra with a team of professional, committed, and experienced people, who strive to work through enormous challenges day in and day out.

Together with Graham, we engaged in a smoking ceremony, learnt about native Australian plants and got to taste them and made a collaborative artwork for National Sorry Day. 

We were also able to give Graham the first of our Care Packs that we have collected to take back to Gunawirra to distribute to the children in Aboriginal Pre-schools in the outback. We are hoping to get many more Care Packs in over the next two weeks.

The National Reconciliation Week 2022 theme, “Be Brave. Make Change” is a challenge to all Australians – individuals, families, communities, organisations and government to – Be Brave and tackle the unfinished business of reconciliation so we can Make Change for the benefit of all Australians. It is a time dedicated to building positive, respectful relationships between Australians and celebrating Indigenous culture.

We appreciate it is difficult for young children to understand what Reconciliation Week means. The Dolphins decided to look at the idea behind ownership and acknowledging that Indigenous people were the first ones to live in Australia.

We posed the question: 

Does anybody know who was living in Australia when Captain Cook and the white people arrived on the land?

Matteo: The Koori people. 
Raphael: The Aboriginal people were respectful to the land.

Through role-plays, we explored what “reconcile” means. In groups of two, the children pretended to argue about who had come first and who owned it. Since they couldn’t solve the problem, they angrily walked away from each other but after some reflection, they came together again to work out a plan to make things better for both of them.

How would you feel if someone took your land and built a house there?

James: It’s sad because they smashed their house and built their own.
Sam: It’s not fair. 
Matteo: It’s like when we build blocks, and someone knocks them down. 
Adrienne: It’s not fair because they were there first and they took over the land. If they want to be friends, they can’t do that to each other. They need to share the space. If you break the deal you have to go away and tell an adult.

Exploring Aboriginal symbols

We introduced some Aboriginal symbols. Before explaining their meaning, we encouraged the children to wonder about them..

Harriet: Are they from outside and somebody drew on them?
Hugo: Aboriginal symbols. 
Adrienne: Did they chop the logs and then draw on them?
James: Did the Aboriginals cut them off the tree and then draw on them?
Cleo: They’re special symbols that they had.

Making the Aboriginal flag

We wondered what the children knew about the Aboriginal flag. So before explaining the meaning of the colours we asked them for their thoughts:. 

Cleo: It’s the Aboriginal flag. Yellow is for the sun, red for the sky and black for the ground.
Hugo: Yellow is for the sun, red for the fire and black for night.
Xander: Red is for the fire, black is for the water and yellow is for the sun shining down on the water.
Raphael: Red is for the fire, black is for the night and yellow is for this Sunday.
Sienna: Yellow is for the sun, red is for the blood and black is the wood for the fire. 
Sam: Yellow is for the sun, red is for the fire and black is for the night time.

The comments from the children really blew us away. They truly think so deeply and make such profound comments. We are looking forward to exploring Aboriginal culture and identity further in the coming weeks.

A letter of thanks from Gunawirra
For our recent support of flood victims in Lismore and Coraki

Dear Gunawirra Mudjin (family),

We are so grateful for your consistent and generous support to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander jarjums (children), miingan (mothers), mudjin (families) and communities we work alongside. 

With your contributions, we have been able to offer hope to the flood affected mudjin and preschools in Coraki and Lismore. We hope you enjoy learning more about the impact that our Gunawirra mudjin is making and thank you again for your continued support.

Graham Toomey
CEO at Gunawirra