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Learning About Australia’s History — Connecting with the Present

Students in the Early Learning Centre have been exploring Australian history and building an understanding of reconciliation.

There has been an abundance of rich learning in the Ivanhoe Girls' Early Learning Centre. In PrePrep we read the story, Sorry Sorry by Anne Kerr. It is a book that uses age appropriate language to explain Australian history and help young children begin to build an understanding of reconciliation.

This book provided many opportunities to talk about feelings, about sharing spaces and resources and working as a team. Maya commented after the story, “They could have just had a quick visit and said ‘Can I live here as well?'” 

Aside from learning about reconciliation, we are wanting the girls to re-visit what it means to be part of a team. How do we work together and how do we share areas of the playground? As we re-group after a long break, these are important questions to discuss and work through.

We have also been looking closely at our Acknowledgement of Country and what the words mean to us. Inspired by a Playschool episode with the same name, the girls created the land, ocean, mountains, trees and animals of Australia during a mindfulness session and shared what they are grateful for. 

Bernadette Gioia
Director of the Early Learning Centre

“I’m grateful for the Wurundjeri people.”  — Lara
“For all the flowers.”  — Allegra
“And all the leaves.”  — Chloe P
“All the animals.”  — Grace
“To have a family.”  — Penelope

In Kinder, the girls have been learning about the Indigenous Australian practice of Dadirri. Dadirri means "deep listening" and to "be still". They watched a video where they heard the sounds of nature, including rain falling, birds chirping and leaves rustling in the wind before collecting beautiful treasures from nature and listening to the sounds around them.

Each child put their treasures into a paper bag, and the following day they gathered to create a mandala. The girls took turns to show the class their favourite items, describe its characteristics and explain why they thought it was special. We noticed how gentle the girls were, holding their items with care and respect whilst explaining their importance. 

The girls have been demonstrating the practice of Dadirri at other times as well. As she held a shell thoughtfully to her ear at the playdough table, Mia commented “Shhhhhh! Listen to the breezing of the ocean!”  

More than ever before, we want children to develop an awareness of themselves as global citizens with rights and responsibilities. Instilling in children an appreciation of the beauty in nature is a wonderful starting point. Gurnaaz and Alannah summarised this beautifully:

“We don’t want to hurt the animals.”  — Gurnaaz
“Be kind to nature.”  — Alannah

Emily Franceschi
Kinder Teacher