Home' Aurora : Aurora May 2013 Contents BY TRACEY EDSTEIN
Students enjoy the art of
knowledge at Branxton
Year 3 student Drew Wiseman with Aboriginal artist and Wanaruah Elder Les Elvin.
'Respect' and 'knowledge' are key notions
in an innovative program being offered at
Rosary Park Catholic School, Branxton.
Integral to the program is the presence
of an Aboriginal 'artist in residence'
followed by a 'dancer in residence', each
for several weeks. The program, titled
"Respect and Knowledge", allows students
the opportunity to gain 'inside' knowledge
and appreciation of Aboriginal culture with
a local flavour.
Renowned Cessnock Aboriginal artist
and Wanaruah Elder Les Elvin is running
interactive art classes at the school and
a dance component is now being offered.
"Respect and Knowledge" is only possible
because of the support of the Coal &
Allied Aboriginal Community Development
Rosary Park Catholic School Indigenous
Support Teacher Caroline Kennedy
said, "It's a privilege that Les Elvin has
agreed to be our artist in residence and
he will significantly support the students'
learning about Aboriginal culture. Les
has won countless regional, national and
international awards for his work. He has
been a strong supporter of our school
for three years, using his art expertise in
various fundraisers and art judging panels,
so we're very excited to have him back.
"We have more than 200 children in our
school and over seven per cent identify as
Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Where
we can, we've always tried to integrate
cultural activities such as NAIDOC Week
and Sorry Day, in our curriculum, and to
incorporate Aboriginal culture and history
"We'll also be encouraging parents to
be involved by inviting them to come
along each week and develop their
understanding of Aboriginal culture."
Les Elvin is "proud to be involved in this
program, which I believe is important
in helping our students and the wider
school community understand our local
Aboriginal culture, heritage and customs.
Over eight weeks, I'm working with
students from Years 3 to 6. Firstly, they
will learn the basics of how to maintain
their work space and this includes
explaining each of their art tools, how
to mix paint, how to keep their area tidy
and properly store their work. Then they
will move onto learning about Aboriginal
symbols and how they can be used to
tell a story. Finally, they will learn about
dreamtime astrology and how our culture
has a different animal to represent each
month. They will learn to sketch and paint
different animals before completing a
couple of their own paintings, which will
go into an exhibition at the end."
Coal & Allied Aboriginal Relations
Specialist Cate Sims said, "The Fund
is proud to partner with the school to
launch this program. It will help Aboriginal
students continue connecting with their
own culture and also enrich the learning
of non-Indigenous children, which can
potentially filter into the wider community."
Year 6 student, Madeleine Hughes, is
enjoying the program, "We took it in turns
to work with Les in the hall. It was fun
learning how to draw different Aboriginal
pictures like a platypus and a turtle."
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