MercyCare / News / Bush tucker to language: How we’re engaging the next generation

Bush tucker to language: How we’re engaging the next generation

It’s a great way to start the day, regardless how old the children are.

At MercyCare, we believe engaging children in the Aboriginal culture of their local area is a vital part of understanding the world around them.

“In this industry we are given the opportunity to introduce children to the Aboriginal culture and its traditions; it is here where we plant the seed,” said Kelmscott Early Learning Centre Manager Kym Corbett.

Aboriginal customs and traditions have been embedded into learning activities at Kelmscott.

During storytelling activities, children have the opportunity to build their knowledge of the Wadjuk language, learning key words that they can practise in other activities, such as music and singing.

Their bush tucker garden is something the children take enormous pride in; they planted every single edible native plant with help from a child’s family member, who came in to teach children about Indigenous plants.

Kym said incorporating Aboriginal traditions and culture into everyday activities and having visual representation of it throughout the centre went a long way in welcoming Aboriginal families to the centre and making it a culturally safe place for their children.

“Acknowledging Aboriginal culture and having it embedded in our service is really important to us,” she said. 

“Things like having the Aboriginal and Torre Strait Island flags around our centre and having the Acknowledgement to Country are important ways to embrace the culture of many families that attend our centre.”

As a proud Maori woman from New Zealand, acknowledging culture holds a special place for Kym.

“Being born and raised in a country with a strong cultural identity and then moving here, it saddened me to learn of the lack of recognition the Indigenous people receive,” she said.

“As early learning educators, we have an important opportunity to plant that seed and break down stereotypes.”

Kym and a cohort of MercyCare staff recently immersed themselves in a five-week Wadjuk Language education course, which will support ongoing Aboriginal learning activities across MercyCare’s early learning centres.