On Wednesday 25 August and Thursday 26 Alamanda Kindergarten and Tarneit Central Kindergarten had the privilege of participating in the You Yangs Indigenous Cultural Family Day, organised through Wyndham City Council. 

You Yangs Regional Park is located 60km south-west of Melbourne. The name ‘You Yang’ comes from the Aboriginal words ‘Wurdi Youang’, meaning ‘big mountain in the middle of a plain’. Therefore the You Yangs are a significant gathering place and a perfect setting for educators, children and families to learn about the importance of connecting with nature and to gain cultural knowledge of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

Children, their families and educators from the kindergartens all came together for the program. The day commenced with children and families participating in the smoking ceremony, singing learned Australian songs and dancing as native animals. 

Children then split into four groups that rotated through four 45 minute activities throughout the day. Facilitated by a number of indigenous performers, the activities included: 

  • Dreamtime stories.
  • Boomerang throwing.
  • Indigenous dance.
  • Bushcrafts and a bushwalk.

Families brought their own picnic lunch which was eaten around campfires cooking fresh damper and toasted marshmallows. 

The You Yangs Cultural Family Day allows children and families to learn more about the culture of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The day also provides opportunities to connect with and explore the natural environment and to participate in a community event that is inclusive and fun. 

It was inspiring to see so many family members present, including grandparents and older siblings. Children and their families were interacting and getting to know people in their community; possibly the beginning of ongoing relationships. 

To learn more about the You Yangs, watch this video by Wadawurrung Elder, Uncle Bryon Powell who explains the story behind how the impressive granite ridges were formed and why they are an important part of an ancient song line. 

Keep an eye out for further articles about the You Yangs project and ECMS’s commitment to reconciliation through partnering with Wyndham City Council.