The sounds of the endangered Gamilaraay language are now echoing through the classrooms of Calrossy, where our Prep students are learning a new language and some of the rich culture connected with it. If you peek inside a Prep classroom at the same special time each week you will hear the happy voices of the children speaking Gamilaraay… they were playing animal bingo when we caught up with them.

It an exciting step towards fostering cultural inclusivity and linguistic diversity, Calrossy is part of a unique program aimed at teaching the Gamilaraay language to our youngest students. This weekly program, part of the broader Ninganah No More, Early Childhood initiative by the NSW Department of Education which is aimed at embedding Aboriginal languages and culture into early childhood education, and ensuring these languages are passed down to future generations.

“The idea is to come in and teach through songs, games, storytelling and arts and crafts to embed Language and Culture as far as possible. We hope the centres embed the Language within their centre's when we are not there during the week and the children learn it, share it and take it out in community to share with their friends and family at home,” says Renee Houldsworth, Gamilaraay Language Hub Coordinator.

Operated through the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, the program brings the Gamilaraay language to life for our young Prep learners. Each week, enthusiastic Prep students gather to participate in these lively sessions filled with songs, stories, and interactive activities designed to make language learning fun and engaging. The lessons focus on different themes ranging from greetings, animals, body parts and much more.

Head of Calrossy Junior School, Claire Smith is excited to add this program to Calrossy’s diverse learning opportunities, stating

“Introducing the Gamilaraay language to our Prep classes is a wonderful opportunity to broaden our students’ horizons and deepen their appreciation for Aboriginal culture. This initiative aligns perfectly with our commitment to providing a diverse and enriching educational experience.”

This program is just the latest in Calrossy’s dedication to offering a diverse curriculum and specialised pathways for all students. It is one of several special programs in the Junior School, which includes Music, PDHPE, Japanese, Christian and Library lessons.

When you next see a Calrossy Preppie ask them to teach you some Gamilaraay!