NAIDOC: Members of Proserpine Indigenous Reference Group introduce children at Goodstart Early Learning to Indigenous culture for NAIDOC week.
NAIDOC: Members of Proserpine Indigenous Reference Group introduce children at Goodstart Early Learning to Indigenous culture for NAIDOC week. Claudia Alp

NAIDOC a 'good start' for local Proserpine kids

GOODSTART Early Learning Centre hosted NAIDOC Week celebrations alongside members of the local indigenous community for the first time on Tuesday.

Representatives from the Proserpine Indigenous Reference Group (PIRG) introduced the children to various indigenous customs such as the yarning circle, acknowledgement to thetraditional owners of theland and didgeridoo playing.

PIRG's Preston McAvoy explained the didgeridoo and played it for the children, who listened intently as most of them had never heard one before.

Other PIRG members read indigenous stories to the children, who were seated on large mats on the grass and often participated and asked questions.

There were also colouring-in activities and face-painting, which was popular with the boisterous bunch, who ran around showing off painted indigenous patterns and flags on their arms, hands and faces.

Sarah McAvoy reads an indigenous story to children from the Goodstart Early Learning Centre.
Sarah McAvoy reads an indigenous story to children from the Goodstart Early Learning Centre. Claudia Alp

Centre director Wendy Howard said activities such as those held for NAIDOC Week were key to ensuring the relationship with the local indigenous community remained strong.

"It's really important to make sure that our connection with the indigenous community is open and well respected,” Ms Howard said.

"We're extremely lucky to still have traditional owners in this area and to be able to recognise their culture in our centre.” PIRG president Fiona Mazza said she was thrilled that the Whitsunday community, particularly early learning centres, was participating in NAIDOC Week celebrations.

"We're really proud and I'm finding it excellent because the early learningreally needs to haveindigenous input intheday care while they'restill young,” Ms Mazza said.

"I find that even going out in the supermarket, they're shocked to see you.

"It's good to not only show them our indigenous culture but also to see indigenous people that we do get around in our community as well.”

PIRG will be hosting a family fun day at Dingo Beach to wrap up NAIDOC Week celebrations tomorrow morning from 10am.


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