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What's happening in our community of Gippsland | Koorie, Community, Kinder, Children, Teaching, Ganai, Gippsland, Great | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
What's happening in our community of Gippsland PDF Print E-mail

My name is Lynne Dent. I am in the position of Koorie Early Childhood Field Officer at the Department of Human Services,Traralgon Branch.This covers kindergartens from the border near Mallacoota down to Phillip Island.


The role of the Koorie Early Childhood Field Officers is to encourage our kids to attend Pre-school, and if they aren't then to find out why.

There are a number of barriers, and I hope to help break them down and support our Koorie families. We also aim to help those teaching and working in the kindergartens to be aware of issues influencing education,and to support cultural differences in our community and our kids. I hope that we will work together, by building a working relationship with Koorie and Non-Koorie communities.

I have been involved with a number of kindergartens to introduce a culturally appropriate program for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander,children.

I come from a large family living in this area of Gippsland. I am a primary trained teacher and have taught at Woolum Bellum K. 0. D. E. campus Morwell, since the school opened in 1995. I was responsible for the teaching Of Ganai to grades Prep to Year 10. I developed a teaching program and resources so that the language could be taught. I am involved as a committee representative with the Victorian Aboriginal Co-orporation for Languages in Melbourne. Prior to teaching at Woolum Bellum I taught in the Diploma of Koorie Studies at Monash University Gippsland Campus from 1989-1995.

East Gippsland

In East Gippsland we have introduced Ganai language into three of the kinders, and a community person works with the kinders for half hour sessions. It's great to hear of little ones going home and asking mum, `wunman njinde?"How are you?' or to call their take-away `tambo and chips' (fish and chips).

I love to hear them greet me in Ganai and also to use the words both in kinder and outside. It all helps develop understanding of Koorie people.

Around Drouin and Warragu I At Oak street Kinder Drouin we had the Flamin Bull resturant visit us in July as part of NAIDOC celebrations and the children were exposed to a mia-mia made at the kinder by the Koorie preschool assistant, Kaylene Mckinnon. It was a great effort on her part. Kaylene is based at Adam Court Kinder, but has visiting other kindergartens in her area to support them on Koorie cultural days.The photo shows two of our kids playing in the humpy with the food and artifacts.

The Flamin Bull provided the children with the experience of different foods.We had damper, witchetty grub, berries, nuts and crocodile meat!

Sale Area

In the Sale area we have had a number of Koorie children from the Wurruk region accessing Kinder by a community Bus. These were children who were previously not attending, and who have responded to the encouragement to come along.

The staff at the kinders have been very responsive which is great to see. We have a new Koorie playgroup set up at Wurruk.This is run by the Maternal Child nurse based at the Ramahyuck Aboriginal Co-op in Sale and we work together on a number of issues.We have a community person involved with the kinder and playgroup.

Since starting as the Koorie Early Childhood Field Officer in March I have had a good response to Koorie issues and speak at various meetings. I have had a great time working with kinders and the wider community, who are very interested in what we are doing.

A day the children really enjoyed was when Uncle Max came to the Lake Entrance Kinder and made Jonny cakes with them. Community language worker, Leann Edwards has been teaching Ganai through the Yirruk-Tinnor Ganai Language program run in the community by Lynne and Doris Paton.