Yarning circle opens at Picton Public School

Indigenous students in Picton can now connect more closely with their heritage with the opening of a new yarning circle at Picton Public School.

The circle was officially opened in a ceremony on Monday, May 10.

Local Indigenous elders Uncle Ivan, Aunty Karen and Uncle Eddie performed a welcome to country and smoking ceremony alongside Aboriginal artist Michael Fardon.

Picton Public Aboriginal Education Specialist teacher Jenny Cummins said it was fantastic to have the circle finally opened.

"It took over a year and a half to design, create and build our yarning circle," she said.

"Local Aboriginal elders Uncle Ivan and Uncle Eddie assisted us with designing and building our yarning circle.

"We are very lucky to have an amazing GA, Graeme, that assisted us along the way."

Mrs Cummins said the space was embraced by the school's executives.

"Nathan Nielson, Picton Public School principal, was very supportive and enthusiastic to have such an amazing space that enhanced the inclusive philosophy embedded in the school," she said.

"We self-funded our yarning circle and we thought it was an important area for our school, not just for our Koori Kids, but for all students, staff and community to come and sit, chat and feel connected."

Mrs Cummins said the circle was a great way for everyone to feel connected to the land.

"Whilst sitting in our yarning circle, you feel that sense of calmness and serenity with the greenery and hills that our school looks out onto - our connection back to country," she said.

"That's what it's all about - connecting back to country, passing on those stories from our Aboriginal elders and educating all students about the history of Dharawal land."

Mrs Cummins said the "amazing" opening was capped off with "all classes, teachers, guests and community members [being] invited into the yarning circle to be cleansed" in the smoking ceremony.

She said it was so important that Australia's, and Wollondilly's, Indigenous history continued to be shared and celebrated.

"It is vital for all children to learn about Aboriginal education and for our Koori kids to develop a strong connection that they will be able to pass on to their own families," Mrs Cummins said.

"It has been amazing to see how excited and engaged the students at Picton Public School have been during our class discussions, playing traditional Indigenous games and looking at various Aboriginal tools, weapons and artifacts."

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