Students open their hearts to reconciliation message
Learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is embedded in the curriculum at Clairgate Public School. Linda Doherty reports
02 June 2023
Every year the students at Clairgate Public School on Dharug Country do a deep dive into learning about reconciliation to appreciate the diversity of Indigenous cultures and traditions in Australia.
This week the 380 students, including 30 Aboriginal students, have studied ‘My Country’ by Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Sally Morgan, ‘Open Your Heart to Country’ by Jasmine Seymour, and learnt about civil rights activist Charles Perkins.
Each student has created an artwork or a piece of writing that will be ‘planted’ today in the school’s yarning circle as an art installation for National Reconciliation Week.
Principal Michelle Lawrow said the authentic learning highlighted to children that “we all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation”.
“In playing our part, we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ histories, cultures and futures,” she said.
The learning outcomes include children developing a sense of belonging to their community and an understanding of their own and others’ cultures and traditions.
The younger children are encouraged to share and explain their artworks with the class, allowing them to explore their creativity and imagination while promoting an understanding of Indigenous culture and connection to Country.
Deputy Principal Lisa McInally said the Stage 2 study of ‘Open Your Heart to Country’ promoted the theme of National Reconciliation Week - "Be a Voice for Generations” – by introducing students to the concept of reconciliation and the importance of respecting Country and culture.
Stage 3 students have been studying the achievements of the late Dr Charles Nelson Perrurle Perkins, an Arrernte and Kalkadoon man who led the 1965 Freedom ride through NSW that threw a spotlight on race relations and is considered one of Australia’s most significant civil rights events.
The learning intentions in the study include understanding the impact of racism and discrimination on Indigenous Australians and appreciating their contribution to social justice and civil rights.
Clairgate Public School is part of the St Clair and Erskine Park Learning Community – five primary and two feeder high schools – that collaborate to link Aboriginal students across their networks and with Kimberwalli, the Aboriginal Centre of Excellence in western Sydney.