Moolap Indigenous Program: Our Story

During late 2018, our staff participated in the Department of Education and Training Cultural Understanding and Safety Training (CUST), which provided us with an insight to Aboriginal culture and sparked our interest to find out more about local indigenous communities. In 2019 we introduced Aboriginal Studies formally to our curriculum and our students quickly gained an understanding of indigenous culture through research and inquiry learning and by participating in a range of school activities such as Reconciliation Week. To formalise our commitment to understanding and reconciliation, the school formulated our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and submitted it for approval. We launched our RAP to our community with a special smoking ceremony, performed by Traditional Owner and Wadawurrung woman, Corrina Eccles. The RAP can be found on our School Website.

Photos on the right from the special smoking ceremony where the students sang a traditional welcome song in Wadawurrung Language at our special assembly.
Since our RAP launch, our school has been proactive in developing student understanding and appreciation of culture. As part of our approach, students are encouraged to take an active role in our community. Various symbolic features can be found around our school, each with a distinct student stamp. Our group of ECO leaders planned an Indigenous Garden at the front of the school by researching local indigenous plants. These were donated to the school. Our Koorie students assisted with the painting of rocks for the garden.

P-2 students painted a ‘Welcome Handscape’ on bollards at the front of the school as an indigenous welcome to all peoples to Moolap PS.

The MPS Student Representative Council reviewed our school house system, names and symbols in their own student-led project. At their meetings, they decided that they wanted to change the school house names to be more reflective of our learning about culture and the local area. They obtained approval from School Council and then worked with the student body to decide on new names. The flags depict indigenous names for water, land and air animals: Perridak (Platypus), Barnong (Ring-Tailed Possum), Lelon (Frill-Necked Lizard) and Kuwarrk (Kookaburra). Each of the symbols were designed by one of our support staff, Susan Searle, with the approval of the Wathaurung Co-op.
Our four School Leaders, Amy, Bella, Jemma and Evie presented a wonderful video of our school at the Order of Australia, Primary School Citizenship Awards. They spoke proudly of their learning.
Our school was fortunate to be awarded a finalist in a National Award, titled the Narragunnawali Awards. We were one of three schools in the country to be recognised for our outstanding work. Principal Peter Knight and Leading Teacher Judy Harvey represented our school in Canberra. Our community was so proud of our achievement. Watch the video here >
During 2020, our school will formally introduce Wadawarrung language as a LOTE subject, where students will gain a deeper understanding of language and culture with the assistance of staff from the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-op. The school has proudly provided advice to other schools in embracing indigenous culture. In June 2020, Mina Spiteri and Greg Seach presented to Deakin University undergraduate students about Moolap’s approach to cultural understanding. Our Principal has also worked with the Department of Education to develop a Professional Practice Note to guide teacher practice across the system.
‘Nyatne’ means ‘Thanks’ in Wadawurrung language.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians of our school lands, the Wadawurrung people, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and future.
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