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Paving the way for cultural connection


Cultural connections between young Nazareth students and their Aboriginal heritage have brought a native garden to life at Nazareth’s Findon Campus.

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Pavers illustrating rich Aboriginal cultures have been installed and now form an interactive walking trail through the campus’s cherished Kaurna Garden.

Designed as part of a co-curricular STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) Week activity, the pavers are proud accomplishments by their artists; Indiana Fowler, Nathaniel Fowler, Isla Bond, Peyton Almstetter and Riley Sinclair.

The students directed the project with teachers Olivia Bordignon and Jane Watson supporting their research, design process and production.

“STEAM Club provides a co-curricular lunchtime opportunity for our primary students who have a passion for hands-on learning,” Mrs Bordignon said.

“We were eager to combine the benefits of STEAM education and provide a creative opportunity with a cultural focus. The activity then evolved from that”.

Educators across Early Childhood to Year 12 at Nazareth are taking different approaches to incorporate Aboriginal understanding and perspectives into what students are learning; from creating concentrated units of inquiry to establishing new programs and activities which integrate an Indigenous focus.

“The most powerful outcome of this particular project was the connection, and in some cases reconnection, of families,” Miss Watson said.

“Inviting the students’ families to join their learning journey and communicating with them was key, as we encouraged conversations at home during the research phase. Some reached out to family members they had lost contact with, and all the students learned something new about their history and heritage.”

Weeks of hard work were undertaken by the students to understand stories, learn symbols and language, sketch designs, paint and write scripts.

As a result, Nazareth’s Kaurna Garden now artistically tells the personal stories of its Aboriginal students. The pavers are a permanent fixture accompanied by interactive QR codes that take visitors to an explanatory video.

Miss Watson said shining through the videos and common to each student’s work was pride for their learning, pride for their creation and pride for their culture.

“You can hear the love in the voices of the family stories and it’s evident how proud the students now are of their Aboriginal culture. I hope that rubs off on all those who visit the garden,” she said.

“We are also proud to have created a space in our school where children and adults alike can be educated about culture by our students,” added Ms Abarno.

Currently, Nazareth is driving the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan in collaboration with Nicole Gollan, a proud Ngarrindjeri woman and Year 7 parent, who provides reconciliatory guidance through her consultancy business, Nik&Co.

“This project sets the tone for what Nazareth aspires to do in facilitating educational opportunities that advocate for inclusivity and interweave authentic reconciliation action,” said Jeff Sochacki, R-12 deputy principal.

“These pavers are now a resource which will develop a deeper level of understanding and respect in our community.”

While the priority of the project was sharing the stories of First Nations students, there are plans to grow the walkway to include more of Nazareth’s 86 cultural groups and their stories.

“It is our ambition for every student in our school to do this task and create a paver,” Miss Watson said.

“We would love to extend the pathway and widen it to include more cultural stories. It would be a celebration of our diversity and our unique backgrounds, and it would represent how Nazareth is embracing of everyone.”


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