Ardmona connecting with country

By Liz Mellino

Ardmona Primary School students are starting the school week with an acknowledgement of country.

Based on the welcome to country, the weekly ritual allows students to pay respects to traditional owners and the connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to country.

Social worker Ivan Howes said the initiative acknowledged indigenous heritage and paid respect to elders, past and present.

Each Monday, Year 4 student Kydan Miller reads the address to the school’s 24 students.

‘‘Our student Kydan does what is called an acknowledgement to country ... as a child he is acknowledging that he is Aboriginal, he is acknowledging that this is Yorta Yorta land where his relatives lived, roamed and grew up and he is acknowledging that the school is on Yorta Yorta land,’’ Mr Howes said.

The acknowledgement is followed by one or two students playing the drums and taking turns in playing a traditional didgeridoo.

All students are involved each week, which teacher Nathan Turner said was a chance for students to share responsibility.

‘‘We’re putting it back on the students with welcome to country, so it gives them a bit of a go at our assemblies, which is fantastic for them to be able to learn,’’ he said.

‘‘Growing up I didn’t learn much of the indigenous heritage, so it is good to see the curriculum come into our schools so the kids can learn about their culture as well.’’