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NSW South Coast Aboriginal After-School Pilot Program Helping Kids Connect With Culture

A first of its kind after school program on the NSW South Coast is helping Indigenous children connect with their culture and country.

The Koori Kids Culture Club aims to help children make healthy lifestyle choices through activities that represent Aboriginal culture.

Bushwalking, Aboriginal games and dance, bush tucker and medicine, boomerang throwing, language and traditional canoe-making and fishing methods are among some of the activities taught by community members.

Following a successful eight-week trial in the coastal town of Ulladulla, the program was rolled out to dozens more students in the nearby towns of Nowra and Culburra.

The program is a collaboration between early childhood researchers at the University of Wollongong, the Cullunghutti Aboriginal Child and Family Centre and the local community.

Associate Research Fellow at UOW Dr Rebecca Stanley said it took two years to develop in consultation with elders, parents and children.

“Some of these communities have been through so much,” Dr Stanley said.

“We were able to identify the areas in the Shoalhaven — Nowra, Culburra and Ulladulla — with the greatest need,” she said.

“What we found was a strong support from the community for children to learn about who they are by connecting with their culture.

“We didn’t realise how much positive impact the Koori Kids Culture Club would have.”

Koori Club Artwork

Photo: An artwork by young Indigenous students who took part in the pilot Koori Kids Culture Club at Ulladulla. (Supplied: University of Wollongong)

Data from the pilot program is yet to be formally collated, but Dr Stanley said the positive feedback from the families involved was something she never expected.

“Some of the parents are saying they are so surprised at the confidence levels of their kids not only when they are in the program, but also they are noticing it during class time and when the kids are at home,” she said.

“We had a family that told us about their child who could not get up in front of anyone to speak, they were very concerned this kid would run away from school.

“They say they saw him on the final day of the program get up in front of a group of about 60 people and present the activities, and the language, and the dances that he had been learning in the program. They were just blown away.”

The program resumes in Ulladulla and will start in Nowra and Culburra in February, the first week of the school term in NSW.

Koori Kids Culture Club is funded under the university’s Global Challenges Program.

 

This article originally appears at:
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-10-05/koori-kids-culture-club/7906140
Article taken from the following publication:
ABC News
Article submitted by:
Author:
Emily Laurence

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