The final day of the term for Tomaree Public School students was filled with cultural activities in recognition of NAIDOC Week.
All school students rotated through a series of activity stations on Friday, July 6 which included learning an Indigenous dance, taking part in traditional games and creating poems with the NAIDOC theme because of her, we can.
“This is something we’ve been doing for a few years now,” assistant principal Aaron Carter said. “It recognises the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the school, help them feel like they belong and also creates closer ties as a whole.”
ATSI students involved in the school’s Write It Right program performed an Indigenous dance during an assembly which was then taught to the remaining students.
Before the activities got underway students heard from Andrew Smith, CEO of the Worimi Local Aboriginal Land Council, at an assembly.
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Mr Smith spoke to the students about the 2018 NAIDOC theme – because of her, we can – how they could continue to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and how place names in Port Stephens, such as Tomaree, have evolved from the Worimi language into English during the years.
John Schultz, from the Murrook Culture Centre, taught students a spirit animal dance.
“I enjoy doing this,” he said. “It’s sharing my culture, what I love to do, with them but for the kids, it’s good to see this culture, to be part of it. It will help give them a better understanding about Aboriginal identity by taking part in it.”
Mr Schultz visits the school each fortnight to work with the Write It Right students.
The program, which has been running at the school for three years, aims to connect ATSI students with their culture, elders and community, plus teach them about Aboriginal culture and language.
“We do this ti get students connected with culture and sharing that culture with the school,” teacher and Write It Right coordinator Jess Sullivan said.
“By connecting with culture we make relationships within the Aboriginal community. We can also help close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students.”