A testimony to MCIE’s student centricity and its focus on practical education and learning in addition to its industry led curriculum, the initiative also reflects on MCIE’s commitment towards the community and in creating opportunities for its students to acknowledge and to help celebrate the culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NAIDOC Week celebrations at MCIE were marked with a visit to the Melbourne Museum recently. Aimed at creating an enhanced awareness and learning about Aboriginal culture and values, the trip proved to be an extremely enriching experience for the students.

Comprising of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) students lead by their trainer Correena Makris, the group spent a day at the museum observing various Aboriginal art on display as well as listening to the several individual stories of Australia’s first people at the museum.

Another highlight of the day was the Millari Garden trail at the museum – a beautiful indigenous garden with plants and waterways which were significant to Aboriginal people of South- eastern Australia and also showcases the traditional uses of indigenous plants.

The students explored and experienced the various aspects of a forest environment and learnt about indigenous flora and fauna. They were enlightened about the various ways in which plants were used in Aboriginal culture such as for medicinal uses or for traditional food and drinks such as certain leaves which makes up a delicious tea when boiled in water.

The students also participated in various art activities at the museum during the excursion. They created paint from dust by rubbing rocks vigorously. The pigments formed created beautiful natural colours and the students used it to paint shields. It was an overwhelming experience for the students and the trip was highly appreciated by everyone.

Said, Maryann James, Head of Department- Community Care (ECEC, Individual Support, Disability and First Aid), MCIE, “This trip was our way to taking our students closer to the history, culture, and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from around Australia. There is no better way of teaching than to have our students experience and learn first-hand through practical exposure. It not only imbibes a deeper understanding but also fosters a sense of greater appreciation and knowledge about NAIDOC week celebrations.”

Gary Coonar, Managing Director, MCIE, said, “I am quite happy that our students found the trip not only educational but also came back more enlightened and appreciative of the history, culture, and achievements of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In the spirit of the NAIDOC week celebrations, we had also organised a Professional Development session to introduce the values and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in ECEC studies. Led by Heather Barnes OAM, the session was highly appreciated by the attending educators and the second part of the session is now scheduled in September.”

NAIDOC Week celebrations are held around Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Spanning across a week, it is celebrated not just in Australia’s Indigenous communities but also in increasing number of government agencies, community organisations, local councils, workplaces, schools and sporting groups. The celebrations comprise of exhibitions, art and culture activities, and through awards and performances.

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