City of Wodonga

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NAIDOC Week - Story poles tell of preschool journey

A story that began with making Aboriginal children felt welcomed and comfortable at Belgrade Ave Preschool has come full circle, with a local family putting the finishing touches on a series of Aboriginal story poles.

In 2014, Belgrade Preschool Teacher Kimberly Prigg bought five story poles and painted them white, ready for them to be painted to tell the story of the First Steps.

The story is about the beginning of a child’s education at preschool and the transformation that occurs before the shift to starting primary school..

Selina Steve, whose son Jesse attended the preschool in 2016, and her Aboriginal auntie Carol Horton, an international artist and Aboriginal Elder from Tasmania who now resides in Wodonga, brought the story to life.

Together they painted the poles to tell a story about a little lizard, who suddenly finds his friends don’t want to play with him anymore. He learns that in life, you sometimes have to let friendships go, and move on to make new ones.

At this time of his life, his teacher becomes very important to him. By the end of preschool, the lizard has grown from a baby into a young creature who knows how to make friends, and adapt in life.

“In Aboriginal art, the story is told as part of the process to create the art,” Selina said.

“The poles are significant in Aboriginal culture – just like many other cultures, they can indicate a warning, a celebration, or a totem. And the hand is very symbolic for nurturing, caring and loving, and security.

“The story poles not only make Aboriginal children feel welcome, but they teach all the children about life and about different cultures,” Kimberly said.

More than 100 hours has gone into the project and recently Selina returned to the preschool to add river rocks and other landscaping to create a play area around the story poles.

 

A story that began with making Aboriginal children felt welcomed and comfortable at Belgrade Ave Preschool has come full circle, with a local family putting the finishing touches on a series of Aboriginal story poles.

In 2014, Belgrade Preschool Teacher Kimberly Prigg bought five story poles and painted them white, ready for them to be painted to tell the story of the First Steps.

The story is about the beginning of a child’s education at preschool and the transformation that occurs before the shift to starting primary school..

Selina Steve, whose son Jesse attended the preschool in 2016, and her Aboriginal auntie Carol Horton, an international artist and Aboriginal Elder from Tasmania who now resides in Wodonga, brought the story to life.

Together they painted the poles to tell a story about a little lizard, who suddenly finds his friends don’t want to play with him anymore. He learns that in life, you sometimes have to let friendships go, and move on to make new ones.

At this time of his life, his teacher becomes very important to him. By the end of preschool, the lizard has grown from a baby into a young creature who knows how to make friends, and adapt in life.

“In Aboriginal art, the story is told as part of the process to create the art,” Selina said.

“The poles are significant in Aboriginal culture – just like many other cultures, they can indicate a warning, a celebration, or a totem. And the hand is very symbolic for nurturing, caring and loving, and security.

“The story poles not only make Aboriginal children feel welcome, but they teach all the children about life and about different cultures,” Kimberly said.

More than 100 hours has gone into the project and recently Selina returned to the preschool to add river rocks and other landscaping to create a play area around the story poles.


Last updated: 07-07-2017

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