Wiradjuri counting book launched

TAFE NSW Indigenous Program Coordinator Trish Espie-Whitburn with Head Teacher of Career Pathways, Aboriginal Language and Employability Skills Karen Ward presenting gift packs during the launch

The launch of a children’s book at the Gurinya Schools as Community Centres playgroup at Franklin Public on Wednesday afternoon formed the completion of a project to encourage reading between children and families as well as encourage the learning of the Wiradjuri language and culture.

The ten-week project was part of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS) established by the Australian Commonwealth Government and delivered by TAFE NSW.

It focused on offering literary support to parents during the time they spend in a playgroup setting.

Head Teacher of Career Pathways, Aboriginal Language and Employability Skills Karen Ward said that the program sought to address the importance of embedding literature in families’ everyday lives.

“Over time, we’ve managed to gather materials as well as other Indigenous specific children’s books,” Ms Ward said.

“We have resource kits, mats, and equipment to allow all children to get involved in Aboriginal culture. The materials also assist our literary teachers engage with children.”

The children’s book is called ‘Ngumbaay Bila’ (One River) and teaches children to count in the Wiradjuri language. It was produced by TAFE NSW in conjunction with the “One Story Time” literacy project, created using the life work of Uncle Stan Grant and Dr John Rudder, “A New Wiradjuri Dictionary.”

The book was proof-read and assisted by the Aboriginal Language class at Tumut TAFE and illustrations for the book comprise of photographs taken of artworks created by the playgroup students.

The numbers for the artworks on each page are written in the Wiradjuri language, therefore drawings of three platypuses on one page would correspond to ‘bula ngumbaay biladurang’ (3).

TAFE NSW Educator Robyn MacRae thanked those who had participated in the program and handed out gift bags to families who had participated.

“The book has ended up looking fabulous and I’m very proud of it,” Ms MacRae said.

TAFE NSW Indigenous Program Coordinator Trish Espie-Whitburn said that Ms MacRae and the students had done a wonderful job.

“The book looks terrific and Robyn’s done a wonderful job every week. I’d like to give a thank you to our Tumut SAAC Coordinator Laura Martin and Robyn for their outstanding work, as well as everyone who made it all happen. We can see how much everyone enjoys it.”

Following the presentation, a cake was brought out and shared amongst parents, teachers and students to celebrate.

Ms Ward said that the program formed a stepping-stone in TAFE’s aim to explore options for young Indigenous students.

She said that the next program was the Indigenous Police Recruitment Our Way Delivery program (IPROWD), an 18- week course to be offered at the TAFE with a Certificate 3 in Vocational and Study Pathways which would support Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people to join the NSW Police Force or other Justice or Emergency Service Agencies.

“We will be working with local police and emergency crews in developing this and we’ll be really getting behind to push it because it as it is going to offer a lot of terrific opportunities for Tumut,” Ms Ward said.