Why Our Languages Matter

5 Jul 2017


This week, 2016 Churchill Fellow and Reconciliation Australia’s #Narragunnawali team member, Stephanie Woerde, has been in Kununurra with the team at Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring to launch a new Miriwoong audio book as part of this year’s #NAIDOC celebrations. We asked Stephanie why Our Languages Matter?

“I’ve long been told that “to teach [children] Language is to connect them to Country, Spirit and Themselves.” First Languages education has been shown to strengthen not only children’s linguistic skill development, but also their socio-emotional development and self-esteem; their intercultural awareness, empathy and respect; and their wider academic engagement and achievement potential. I believe that there is an important connection between First Languages revitalisation and reconciliation in Australia.”

The book, Gooloo-gooloob Yarroondayan! was co-authored to be shared with children, families and community members involved in the Miriwoong Language Nest program. Stephanie will be travelling to NZ, USA and Canada later this month to examine the design/implementation of other Language Nest-style initiatives, with the goal of inspiring best practice in Australia.

For more on the Miriwoong Language Nest, visit: http://www.mirima.org.au/language-nest.html

For ideas around how schools and early learning services across Australia can meaningfully engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, visit: https://www.narragunnawali.org.au/rap/actions/39/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander-languages

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