How teaching children with nature respects First Peoples teachings

How teaching children with nature respects First Peoples teachings


12:45 – 1:35 pm
14th of July

Room: Stringy Bark 2

Karen Anderson

Balnarring Preschool is committed to reconciliation which involves sharing the learnings from First Nations Peoples and connecting children with the land. This session will provide some insights into what this looks like for young children while also being relevant to older students. What practices and teaching tools can span all ages? Karen will explain how connecting children with nature and learning with First Nations perspectives has led to the children being involved in publishing Boon Wurrung stories and gaining a greater understanding of the stories of the landscape. The teaching team has been involved in running conferences and festivals and in 2022- the services involved in the Bundjil Nest project were involved in the Little Long Walk. Participants will hear the ancient stories of the Boon Wurrung as shared by N’arwee”t Dr Carolyn Briggs through the published books, learn about different ways stories can be told and invited to develop their story telling skills through using natural materials.

About the Presenters

Karen has been a kindergarten teacher at Balnarring Pre-school since 1984. In 2011 Karen began taking the children to the beach and bush as a regular part of the program. It became apparent that connecting the children with nature was becoming a major component of the centre philosophy resulting in the Learning and Living with Nature philosophy being adopted. In 2022 this program was gifted a Boon Wurrung Name Ngarnga Biik. Karen has a strong commitment to connecting children with nature and First Peoples cultures.

Karen was the founder of the Bundjil Nest Project which commenced in 2014 which has seen the development of the Womindjeka Balnarring Ngargee (festival). This festival celebrates and honours First Peoples cultures. In 2022 the Bundjil Nest conference was held. This conference is totally delivered by First Nations people and attracted 160 teachers from Early Childhood to University level. Karen has co-authored the publication ‘Early Years Learning in Australian Natural Environments’.

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