A Melbourne Aboriginal kinder that teaches Indigenous languages, dancing, and stories is at capacity as children learn about their heritage.
"We're teaching them very young about their tribes and their families ... we are making such powerful statements for children at such a young age," Yappera chief executive Stacey Brown told AAP.
Yappera was set up by a group of Aboriginal women 40 years ago, and now runs out of a site in Thornbury.
Ms Brown says families travel up to 40km to attend, and enrolments are usually in high demand.
"Because the Aboriginal community in Melbourne is quite large, we usually find that we're full," she said.
The demand at Yappera is borne out by broader state government figures, showing Aboriginal children participated in four-year-old kinder in record numbers over the past two years.
But perhaps the biggest improvement is the participation rate for three-year-olds - up from 27 per cent in 2013 to 68 per cent in 2020.
At Yappera, children are taught by Aboriginal educators, and teachers are called Auntie as a sign of respect.
They can talk about their country and their mobs, with Aboriginal elders visiting for story time, and classes in traditional dance and Woiwurrung language.
There are almost 50 kids enrolled across two classrooms - the Wombats program for 3-4 year olds, and Crocs for 4-5 year olds.
A Yorta Yorta and Dja Dja Wurrung woman, Ms Brown has been at the kinder almost 30 years, and says the service has taught several generations of Indigenous families.
"The friendships they still have now are friends they made at Yappera, and now their children are at Yappera," she said.
She makes sure that children have the funding to attend two years of kinder with any additional services they might need, such as health and hearing checks, for free.
The not-for-profit kinder is run by Aboriginal community members and the name means "Belonging Place".
Australian Associated Press