NAIDOC celebrations show Carcoola’s education success story

Carcoola Primary School has shown how successful their Aboriginal Education program can be with a school-wide slew of activities celebrating NAIDOC Week.

Each class had a chance to take part in a range of activities relating to Indigenous culture, including trying traditional food, learning cultural dances, playing historical games, learning Dreamtime stories and more.

Community members and Indigenous leaders such as Chris Nannup and Paul Morrison attended the day to lead the students through the activities.

Even the school’s “robot” mascot, Eddie (named after Eddie Mabo) got in on the action, being dressed in a Aboriginal headband and other garb.

“I think the students particularly like the change,” school principal Michael Day said.

“The Indigenous Program is something we have year-round, so there’s always something new the students are learning about Aboriginal culture.

“But today lets them apply those lessons outside of the classroom, and really think about how these kinds of things apply to day-to-day life.”

Education assistant and organiser Leah Hicks said the aim of this year’s NAIDOC celebrations was to leave a sense of pride in all of the students.

“Last year we had an excursion to Dwellingup, so this year we really wanted to do something that reflected the school,” she said.

“So we have all of these activities going on, but we also have ongoing projects, like putting up Noongar signage around classrooms. It’s a work in progress at the moment, but we’re working on getting proper signage designed.

“We’ve also been developing basic Noongar language skills, things like ‘kaya’, ‘wanju’ and ‘kaartdijin’.

“It’s basically all been about just letting them have a go, and work out what they find interesting.”

Mr Day said it was important for the school to further Indigenous culture in a school like Carcoola.

“Obviously Pinjarra is as susceptible to issues between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people as much as anywhere else, so that’s why it’s important for us to have a program like this,” he said.

“All of the students are passionate about learning these things, no matter their background.”

Ms Hicks said the program was paying dividends in how the students reacted to it.

“It’s part of our country, and I think with the world we live in now, it’s really important to get across ideas about equality,” she said.

“If we don’t talk about it now, at this level, then there’s barriers that can prevent it from happening.

“So a big part of this is telling these kids that we’re all the same, we’re all in this together. Thankfully they’re responding really well to that.”