The excitement of twenty, bright, smiling faces running to our classrooms each morning is wonderful. Our school is growing strong and the students’ enthusiasm for learning shows that our unique style is working. High expectations, great results, being happy, strong, proud learners is the key. We focus on wellbeing and on being yourself. At the heart of our school is embracing identities, being proud of who you are and proud of what you can achieve.
Learning on Country allows you to refresh, to heal, to take in the beautiful surroundings and really ‘feel it’. It makes learning relevant and practical, it empowers the students to share their knowledge, helps to build culture and identity and strengthens connections to the land. This connection is strong when we stroll into Wollombi, look down at the flowing brook and the beautiful green leaves and trees. The land connects all aspects of our lives and when Country is healthy, the people and culture are healthy and content. It helps to achieve dreams and goals and it feels so good!
We have been reading some great books on identity (The Colours of Us, Fair Skin Black Fella, The Skin You Live In). This led to interesting questions and discussion about different skin shades concluding with an agreement that we are all different, but all Deadly! The students produced some amazing, deadly, self-portraits. The students also created handprints, using white ochre. These handprints are a record of our presence, demonstrate that we belong at Ngarralingayil Barker and are a symbol of respect for school. The children discovered that expression through painting is fun, exciting, allows you to relax and be creative.
In Term 1, we celebrated Easter with a Hat Parade, National Close the Gap day, Harmony Day and World Down Syndrome Day with special guest Amarli. Amarli is in Year 8 and has Down Syndrome but doesn’t let anything hold her back. She has her own business and enjoys music, dancing and travelling. She shared her Wiradjuri culture, her Acknowledgement of Country in sign language and her bright, happy spirit. She even helped cook us a BBQ lunch. We all wore coloured socks in her honour. The Harmony Day message of ‘Everyone belongs’ and the kindness, the respect and inclusion shown by everyone made us so proud.