We Play. We Learn. We Belong.
More than 75 people from across the Illawarra attended National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day celebrations at UOW Early Start Discovery Space on Monday 5 August.
The event was organised by Illawarra Aboriginal Medical Service (IAMS) to bring together children and families to honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island culture and the important place children hold within it.
Celebrating the theme, We Play, We Learn, We Belong, children were able to take part in the interactive and creative experiences at Early Start Discovery Space, as well as participate in story time and craft activities.
Stephanie Frazer, IAMS Early Childhood Nurse and event coordinator said the event was a chance to recognise that children hold the hopes, dreams and stories of Aboriginal Australia.
“We feel that it is important for us to celebrate the strength and resilience of the youngest members of our community,” Ms Frazer said “Since 2015 we have demonstrated this commitment by holding a free annual event for our children and their families in celebration of National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day.
Early Start partnered with IAMS over the last four years to celebrate this important day.
“We chose the Early Start Discovery Space to host our event for a number of reasons,” Ms Fraser said. “We felt strongly that it would be the perfect place for our children to enjoy the valuable learning experiences needed for them to play, learn and belong within a culturally safe space.
“As well as this, the support and commitment we receive from the staff and volunteers at Early Start has been instrumental in the ongoing success of the event and is very much appreciated.”
Matthew Ball, Early Start Community and Volunteer Coordinator, said the day enabled First Nations children from throughout the region an opportunity to experience the fun and excitement of the Discovery Space.
“We are delighted to give families access to our unique learning environment where children, parents and carers can interact, learn and play together,” Mr Ball said. “We are passionate about working directly with not-for-profit and community organisations to facilitate access to the Early Start Discovery Space.”