St Canice's Katoomba launches Sky Country Dreaming

St Canice's Primary School in Katoomba has launched a new education program called Sky Country Dreaming, dedicated to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.

The program, worked on by Jarara Cultural Centre of the Catholic Schools Parramatta Diocese, is hoped to embed Indigenous culture into schools like St Canice's.

The launch day was attended by elders, community leaders, teachers, staff and parents, as well as federal member for Macquarie Susan Templeman.

St Canice's Katoomba launches Sky Country Dreaming

Darug Elder Uncle Chris Tobin performed a smoking ceremony, and Ms Templeman presented the school with new Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags.

Students took part in a series of Indigenous activities throughout the day such as traditional Emu in the Sky scratch art, weaving bracelets, canvas cultural painting and a special presentation about Aboriginal symbols.

St Canice's Katoomba launches Sky Country Dreaming

"This is about developing understanding and respect among our children for our Aboriginal people, their knowledge and skills and how they have created and cared for our land," Principal Miriam Meaney said.

Students reacted with enthusiasm to the day's activities.

"I found it really cool learning about how Aboriginal people communicated with the symbols," Year 6 student Kael Gordan Marion said.

St Canice's Katoomba launches Sky Country Dreaming

"I also enjoyed doing the art but it got a bit messy."

"I liked doing the weaving and found it really calming," Year 4 student Ella Wells said.

Ms Templeman said she is honoured to be part of a community where Indigenous culture is celebrated and thanked St Canice's teachers and Jarara for establishing a program that will be enriching for students.

"I'm so excited that St Canice's is going to explore traditional dance, music, art and language," she said.

"We've already been hearing some of that language today. These are things that as Australians, we should feel so proud of, that we have the oldest surviving culture in the world on this land we call home."

Another highly-respected Blue Mountains Elder of the Darug and Gundungurra Nations, Aunty Carol Cooper OAM, has had a long and close relationship with St Canice's and will support the school through the course of the program.

"That's the most exciting thing," said Aunty Carol. "Everyone is so willing and happy to share our culture, instead of it being pushed to the side like it used to be. Today is a beautiful example of that."

Uncle Chris Tobin also said: "I think up here in the Mountains, we feel a special responsibility to educate kids in how to care for Country... we've been blessed because we still have so much of our Country around us and we need to support our kids to continue caring for Country."

St Canice's was thrilled to welcome back some former students who now attend St Columba's Catholic College Springwood. The students helped guide their young peers through some of the activities.

Sky Country Dreaming is designed with links to a broad range of curriculum points, whilst giving educators the confidence to deliver content to their students.

St Canice's is hosting a Sky Country Dreaming Expo on September 7 to celebrate and showcase what students have been learning through the program. It will include a smoking ceremony, open classrooms and a whole school performance of the Dragonfly Dance and other musical performances.

Learn more about this event


Written By

Blue Mountains Gazette

Blue Mountains Gazette
Katoomba news, sport and weather.

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