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Mooroopna kinder 50th anniversary special to three generations of the Bourke family

By Ilias Bakalla

Mooroopna's Save the Children Kindergarten will be celebrating its 50th anniversary today — and one youngster has links to the day it all began.

The Bourke family have had three generations walk through the doors. Grandmother Cheryl was part of the inaugural class back in 1969, four-year-old Will is part of the current group while his father, Michael, attended in 1986.

It means a lot to Michael to have his son go through the kindergarten and that “the people who build curriculum are first peoples from the area”.

Michael noted there had been a big revival in the teaching of language at the kindergarten over the past 10 to 15 years.

“It’s real good for kids to learn their language: the Yorta Yorta language,” he said.

Bush kinder is another program that has recently been introduced, and Michael, Cheryl and Will speak highly of it.

“I like bush kinder,” Will said.

One day a week the children go to Rumbalara to spend a day on country learning about the animals.

“It's good for these young fellas to learn about the bush, their culture and help build their identity,” Michael said.

Cheryl said it was great that a lot of the teachers were indigenous. “Back when I went they were just assisting staff,” she said.

She said a lot of the community liked the mini-bus pick-up service the kinder provided, but she remembered “they started off with a station wagon”.