Little hands glue coloured sticks onto paper fish to tell the Ngarrindjeri dreaming story of the thukeri (bony bream).

“It teaches us not to be greedy and to share,’’ explains Rosslyn Richards of the story, at a playgroup to help Aboriginal children reconnect to culture.

Every Tuesday, Ros and fellow family practitioner Natasha Sumner take Centacare’s Po:rlar Ka:ngkun Tainkuwalun (PKT) Journey to Learning program on the road, from Murray Bridge to the Goolwa Children’s Centre.

In a first for the Fleurieu Peninsula, the playgroup is bringing Aboriginal families together to learn their language, play, and make new friends.

Craft, dreamtime stories, and water and nature play feature, as children aged 0 to 6 engage in fun activities to prepare them for kindy and school.

For many families, the playgroup is a vital connection to their cultural heritage, especially language.

“It’s often when the kids get to high school that they think `we should have learnt this more often’,’’ says Uncle Archie, a Ngarrindjeri Elder.

“It makes me very proud. I’m glad they do pick it up otherwise it’s just going to die out. I hope they carry it on.’’

The playgroup is part of a wider push across the Fleurieu to recognise Aboriginal language, history and culture. Local schools are leading the way, including Goolwa Primary.

Deputy Principal Kym Palka integrates students from Reception to Year 3 in the playgroup each week.

“It gives them the opportunity to meet with the Elders, to do a bit of bonding, arts and crafts, and connects them with Aboriginal culture,’’ he says.

For others, the playgroup is a chance to see extended family.

“I love coming here, not only for the kids to interact with each other but for us as well. It’s a good time for all of us to catch-up,’’ says a grandmother who brings her grandson each week.

“It has opened a lot of eyes down here for the better and we’ve got a lot more to look forward to for these little ones.’’

Aboriginal families are invited to join the playgroup from midday to 1.30pm,  every Tuesday, at the Goolwa Children’s Centre, Brooking St, Goolwa. The final playgroup for the year will be held on December 19. The fun will resume on Tuesday, January 2, 2018. See you there!


Aboriginal children on a journey to learning from Centacare on Vimeo.