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Utulu Kutjungku Nintini Teaching | Education, Junior, Community, Areyonga, Children, Program, Elders, School | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
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Junior boys doing Inma (emu dance), part of the weekly classes taken by the Elders.
Members of the school community at Areyonga, (Utju) west of Alice Springs, see themselves as kicking goals in the bilingual education program.

Utju is the most northern Pitjantjatjara community in Australia. The name, meaning "narrow place" well suits the valley surrounded by the southern peaks of the MacDonnell Ranges. Members of the school community at Areyonga, (Utju) west of Alice Springs, see themselves as kicking goals in the bilingual education program, with students aged from 4 to 19 years following through a three phase education model.

In the junior classes, for children from 4 to 8 years, Pitjantjatjara literacy is taught (reading, writing, speaking and listening) with oral English only included at this level.


Tama Andrews, (centre) with a group of junior class children on the listening post. Tarna is now one of four qualified Aboriginal teaching staff at Areyonga.
Students in the senior primary class, from nine to twelve years, have half their lessons in English literacy, (reading, writing) with the rest of the time devoted to further development of the Pitjantjatjara literacy.

Daphne doing inma with junior girls.
Secondary pupils, from thirteen years on, study in English only. But for the students at all levels at Areyong, the cultural teaching and involvement with community elders remains a consistent part of the education program.

Utulu Kutjungka Nintini is a weekly event, when the elders come to the school to pass on traditional knowledge;



  • Tjukurpa (Dreaming and law stories)
  • Inma (Traditional dance)
  • Collecting and preparing bush foods and medicines
  • Making artifacts.

Going, going... Loretta with a maku.
Even though lessons are regularly taken in the bush, the highlight of each semester comes when the whole school - children, teachers and elders head bush for camp.

Maku (witchetty grub).
Areyonga now has two qualified Anangu teachers and two assistant Anangu teachers in the junior and senior classes.

The community has lobbied the Northern Territory Government strongly for continued support for its bilingual education program, and waits now to see whether changes will impact on the future operation of its curriculum.


Elder, Tjikatu, in the centre of the group, is a custodian of Uluru. She tells tjukurpa (dreaming/law) stories to children at camp.