Eight schools in far southwest Victoria have embedded Aboriginal culture and language into their schools through a local language curriculum, the Gunditjmara Culture and Language in Schools program.
The Dhauwurd Wurrung language is used in daily greetings and farewells, formal instruction, word walls, charts, mathematics tasks and teacher instructions.
Many students incorporate Dhauwurd Wurrung words into their written work to show their respect for Aboriginal culture and language.
The participating schools are Bundarra Primary, Bolwarra Primary, Dartmoor Primary, Heywood Consolidated, Narrawong District Primary, Portland Primary, Portland North Primary and Portland South Primary.
About the Gunditjmara Culture and Language in Schools program
The Gunditjmara Culture and Language in Schools program celebrates Gunditjmara language, as part of school curriculum. Principals at the 8 participating schools began work to start the culture and language initiative in 2019.
Bundarra Primary School led this work, believing Aboriginal culture should be recognised and valued by all Australians. Local schools were eager to participate, as local language curriculum offered a great opportunity to integrate Aboriginal cultural activities in their schools.
In 2020, the schools set their sights on developing a comprehensive curriculum program with professional development for school staff. To do this, they worked with:
- Koorie Engagement Support Officers
- Aboriginal staff
- Elders from the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation
- the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
Now, the program includes 'On Country' community understanding and safety training (formerly known as cultural understanding and safety training) from Gunditjmara Traditional Owners at the world heritage listed Budj Bim National Park. The department has also funded a language support officer for the program.
From Term 1, 2021, the officer delivered the curriculum for the school, while helping schools integrate the Dhauwurd Wurrung language and culture into their broader programs.
Principal of Bundarra Primary School, Tara Hulonce, said,
'Ngata ('Hello' in Dhauwurd Wurrung), I am proud to be leading this important work collaboratively with the Department of Education and Training and Aboriginal staff and Elders from the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation. We are changing the way students, staff and families understand and respect Aboriginal history, culture and language within our community.'
Celebrating NAIDOC Week
You and your students have an opportunity to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the lead up to and during NAIDOC Week, from Sunday 3 to Sunday 10 July 2022.
NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This history dates back thousands of generations.
While NAIDOC Week falls during our school holiday period this year, you can still help your students to learn more and get involved.
The NAIDOC Week website has more information, educational resources, and a schedule of local events.
Find out more
For more information, refer to NAIDOC Week.
For further enquiries, please contact the department by email: email@example.com