NAIDOC is just around the corner and for many Aboriginal people, myself included, it’s a favourite time of year. It’s a time when Aboriginal culture takes a front seat, when we get to see our culture and our people front and centre. Australia gets to see us shine as we come together to celebrate our rich culture and communities. The coming together is the best part for me – I get to see mob and connect in a way which seems more and more challenging in the busy world we live in. Many NAIDOC events are community events where everyone is invited and I really encourage you to check out these events – go along, meet members of your local Aboriginal community and learn about the initiatives that are happening in your local area.
NAIDOC is also a time of year that sees many schools embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content. They celebrate our communities and get the whole school engaged in Aboriginal education. For many schools, NAIDOC Week is just one of numerous times Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content is included throughout the year but for others, this is the only time they include First Nations content. There are many reasons why a school may only include this content during NAIDOC Week, and I understand the challenges teachers face with an already overcrowded curriculum, but the reality is that Aboriginal education is something that should be included all year round and schools need to be working towards this.
This year’s NAIDOC theme, “Heal Country!”, provides the perfect opportunity to explore ways to include more Aboriginal perspectives and ways you can embed this vital content throughout your program.
Wingaru Kids includes over 43 lessons that align with this year’s theme. Our approach encourages teachers to firstly explore the concept of Country from an Aboriginal perspective and then use this understanding to consider ways that we can all contribute to healing Country. We have created a new lesson that shares an Aboriginal understanding of Country and explains why Country needs healing before considering 6 broad focuses from which healing could be approached. These focuses are:
Check out the NAIDOC category on the Wingaru Kids Platform for the lessons we have collected that explore healing Country.
Last year we teamed up with the amazing Mr J for a Challenge that highlighted how accessible Aboriginal content can be. Mr J shared his journey over the term as he explored ways to appropriately bring First Nations content into his classroom each week. If you aren't already, I suggest you follow Mr J's work on Insta and Facebook.
This NAIDOC we have another Challenge for you – the Heal Country Challenge.
For the Heal Country Challenge we are encouraging you to include one activity from each of the six healing focuses (mentioned above) in your classroom during term 3 and we have some spectacular support to help you.
Each week an amazing group of Aboriginal educators and allies will share their classroom activities, ideas and approaches to support teachers to identify and implement Aboriginal perspectives which support healing Country. They are each so generous with their knowledge and stories that I am busting with excitement to see what they share throughout the Challenge. Make sure you follow each of these amazing educators so you don’t miss any of the amazing knowledge they will be sharing.
@teachingwithtanna - Tanna is a passionate Byellee & Kanaka (South Sea Islander) woman, and graduate secondary teacher who teaches at a small government school on Wurundjeri Country in Naarm. Her passion for Aboriginal education is infectious and I am thrilled that she is going to be sharing her approaches for the secondary space. I walk away from every conversation with Tanna feeling so positive and inspired and I am so pleased she chose to bring her strength, energy and commitment to teaching.
@learning_to_ngangaanha – Jordyn is a Wiradjuri, Ngemba and Paakantji woman and primary teacher. She has over 6 years of teaching experience in both the New South Wales and Western Australian public education systems, and currently works as a classroom teacher on Bundjalung Country with the additional role of being the Aboriginal Education Coordinator for her school. Jordyn shares her passion for Aboriginal Education on her amazing Instagram account where she shares resources and advice to support teachers in genuinely embedding First Nations cultures, histories and perspectives in all learning areas of the curriculum.
@missgibbsau – Miss Gibbs describes herself as a Koorie Mum, teacher and blogger. You have probably seen her amazing blog where she shares her love of Aboriginal education including resources, thought leadership pieces and ideas to support teachers deliver Aboriginal perspectives. Like all of the educators sharing approaches in the Challenge, Miss Gibbs is super generous with her knowledge and her grounded approach really resonates. Her blog really is a must read so if you haven’t visited it yet I encourage you to head over and make sure you are following her throughout the Challenge because she has lots of ideas, resource recommendations and inspiration to share.
@mr.j.learning.space – if you have been following Wingaru for a while you probably know what an amazing ally Mr J is and how much I love working with him. Mr J is super inclusive with both his classroom content and his approach to school leadership and generously shares so much via his insta and facebook accounts. During last year’s Challenge so many teachers shared how helpful they found Mr J sharing his learnings so make sure you are following him to see his ideas for this Challenge.
@rainbowskycreations – The other allies joining us for the Challenge are Alisha and Ashleigh, or as you probably know them, Rainbow Sky Creations. Ash and Alisha are passionate about education and I love the support they offer to teachers as well as their openness in sharing their own learning journeys. I can’t do a better job at introducing them than they themselves can: ‘Together we love creating engaging, curriculum-aligned resources to inspire your primary classroom. Our aim is to help Aussie teachers save time while delivering lessons that make learning magic for their students! We believe in high-quality teaching and learning (for teachers and students) that is sometimes out of the box, we embrace creative solutions, we care for teachers and their wellbeing and are advocates for inclusivity in the classroom and beyond.’ You can check out their work at their insta and on their website.
We have some new planners to help you develop a term plan and some free posters and worksheets to use with your class to identify ways they can contribute to Healing. Download them below. We would love to see your planners and your class commitments to healing, so don’t be shy - share them with the #HealCountryChallenge.
Sign up to the Challenge here to receive hints, tips and information direct to your inbox to support you through the Challenge.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.