Catholic Education South Australia
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27 Sep 2017
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Cultural Immersion Program with Ernie Dingo

St Monica’s Parish School was lucky enough to be selected to participate in a unique Cultural Immersion Program in collaboration with Catholic Education and Ernie Dingo.

The program focused on a commitment to reconciliation through a variety of cross curriculum areas including The Arts (Music, Visual Arts and Drama), Language and Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS). 

The Years 5, 6 and 7 students were involved in a four day program focussing on Creation Stories. Ernie facilitated the program with Aboriginal language, songs, art and oral story telling.

Through the program the children gained insights into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture culminating with group presentations of creation stories through a variety of artistic expressions.

Over the 4 days we heard positive responses from the students, parents and community. There was a lot of hype, chatter and excitement each day with many parents and carers popping in to see what was happening.

As a classroom teacher I found it very interesting and enjoyed the opportunity to take a step back to observe the children’s interaction, watching each group coming together with individual ideas, working together as a group without a lead role from the teacher. Each child played a part, participated in their groups artwork and final drama presentation while learning about Aboriginal culture through story telling, culminating in the realisation that we need to listen and work together. The exhilaration and pride that each child took away from the 4 days was priceless.

The program was a fun, unique cultural experience lead by Ernie Dingo. Children had an opportunity to show leadership qualities and to collaborate together with a final presentation allowing them to perform and arrange their own interpretation of their story telling which was then presented to the other classes and the school community.

This was a great experience for everyone involved in the program!

At the end of the program the children were asked to write a reflection on what they had learnt about Aboriginal culture and the Year 5 responses included:

“We need to collaborate as a whole team.”
“All Indigenous Australians are related to each other. There are thousands of Aboriginal languages.
 "I learnt some traditional songs and stories”
“Everyone had something to do.” Piper
“My confidence grew in myself because it was working without guidance.” Olivia
“The importance of acknowledgement” Camille
“I felt encouraged and interested” Oli
 “I learnt some songs and Aboriginal words” Angus
“Be more respectful” Jordan
“Why Dreamtime stories are part of the Aboriginal culture” Lily
“Aboriginals tell stories and all their songs have a hidden meaning like a moral” Jemima
“Ask more questions” Jenna

Submitted by Leonie Pitt, Year 4/5 teacher /ATSI Education Focus teacher


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