We went to Inclusion and diversity play session at Loftus TAFE today hosted by Mary Jacobs. Mary set up the playspace to a number of resources and activities to promote inclusion with an Aboriginal perspective in a respectful, genuine way. The children explored the space inside and outside. Our group was interested in two of them: digging in sand using tapping sticks (traditional tool of Aboriginal people) and VET dramatic play. Mary taught us how to hold sticks and dig with them and children found lots of Australian animals showing delight. I played with children in dramatic corner helping “sick” possum. They learned to use natural materials as medical tools such as banksia pods as a needle or thermometer, long grass used as a band aide which Isla tore perfectly. She also learned to tie knots with that grass. Children learned new words and practiced appropriate communication in play situation. We spent 15 minutes playing together and “helping” some more animals of children’s choice.
We joined Mary in a circle for “dreaming” time when she engaged everyone in story telling, music and movements. Children explored Aboriginal songs and music playing on tapping sticks. Mary sang familiar childrens rhymes but using Aboriginal names for animals and objects.
It was an amazing session of learning about authentic Indigenous practices. It was educative not only for children, but for educators too.