Being of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander background is a large contributor to educational disadvantage. To ensure that First Nations Australian students have the best chance to succeed, schools must embrace and celebrate their students’ cultures. Projects that successfully champion student culture often lead to increased engagement from students, their families and the community.
EIDSVOLD P-12 STATE SCHOOL
In 2016, Eidsvold began their Wakka Wakka language reclamation program with the support of the local community and elder groups, teaching students the major language of the Wakka Wakka people of the North and South Burnett region.
The project aimed to provide all students with a sense of belonging and connection to themselves, others and their community. Lessons include books (Big Rain Coming, The Hungry Caterpillar) and songs (Mau, Wali, Bundur, Djinang, or Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes) translated into Wakka Wakka language for the students to learn. Indigenous student attendance has increased by over 11% since the program’s commencement and the number of major behaviour incidents has decreased by 89%.
Over the next three years, Eidsvold is using funding from John Villiers Trust via Schools Plus to grow the Wakka Wakka program to four more schools in the region, increasing its influence on their students, teachers and communities.