Reconciliation week and NAIDOC week are important times to begin sharing some aspects of the rich culture and history of our country. There has been a lot of harmful decisions made in our past between the European/ British settlers towards the original inhibitors of Australia. Reconciliation week is about harmonising the two cultures and building awareness of Indigenous heritage and how we can learn from each other. NAIDOC week is a time to celebrate and acknowledge the achievements of our First Nations peoples.
But where do you start with toddlers?
Let’s begin with colour and symbols of the flag. Toddlers can learn 3 colours that represent the Aboriginal flag and Have fun painting or gluing the blocks of colour.
“The symbolic meaning of the flag colours (as stated by Harold Thomas) is: Black – represents the Aboriginal people of Australia. Yellow circle – represents the Sun, the giver of life and protector. Red – represents the red earth, the red ochre used in ceremonies and Aboriginal peoples’ spiritual relation to the land
Or explore some dot painting of familiar Australian native animals. Dot painting is one of their cultural ways of sharing stories and symbols through their own mark making.
You could use pegs and cotton wool, pom-poms, or round brush tips.
With older children using pencil, cotton tips, or blunt skewers could be used to create patterns using dot painting.
4+ aged children can extend onto learning about seasons. Perth has 4 seasons, northern Australia has wet and dry seasons, However indigenous culture have their own seasons.
Noongar culture revolves around 6 seasons and in the past determined where they lived, their diet; how they hunted and their general well-being. With weather changes being an indicator of seasons this became an influential factor for Aboriginal families to ensure the did not deplete their food stock by moving around to match their season. This still influences some families who live in remote Australia.
As children get older schools are beginning to teach more about our First Nations people. With some knowledge of indigenous culture in particular local Noongar culture which covers Perth metropolitan plus the south west. (information for Perth based families)