Story contributed by and pictured above: (L-R) Jarjums Facilitators - Joe Benson, Kirsty Townsend and Tina Williams.

The Benevolent Society is committed to fostering Reconciliation through our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan and by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture through all of our services including Child and Family Services.

Each year we celebrate National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children’s Day with the nation on 4 August. It’s a time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to celebrate the strengths and culture of their children; an opportunity for all Australians to show their support and learn about the crucial impact that culture, family and community play in the life of every child.

This year’s Children’s Day theme is We Play, We Learn, We Belong, promoting the critical importance of early years education for Indigenous children. 

Celebrating culture in Jarjums

The Brown’s Plains Early Years Centre host Jarjums (meaning ‘children’) play groups every Tuesday, from 9:30am – 11:30am for children up to five years old and their parents and/or caregivers. Through early childhood development activities, they help increase family engagement in early learning and enhance school readiness.

Our three Jarjum’s Facilitators, Joe, Tina and Kirsty state: “Jarjums helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children develop a positive sense of cultural identity, through learning and understanding their family and cultural ways. Parents and carers are provided with a supportive and culturally safe environment, where they can develop and maintain pride in their family and cultural identity.”

The ‘yarning’ circle creates time for families to talk and share their knowledge and concerns they may have, in a safe and supportive environment. This time is also used as a learning platform for traditional songs and stories. 

“Children and parents create art, learn together and share a memory. We also connect with local community members and Elders by inviting them to Jarjums, to share their knowledge and culture,” said our Facilitators.

Children play with noughts and crosses that have a cultural design during Jarjums playgroups

Children play with noughts and crosses that have a cultural design during Jarjums playgroups

Supporting children and their families

Our facilitators help build upon the strengths, safety and well-being of families and their young children. Jarjums allows our facilitators to model positive parenting skills to families, whilst promoting early development by improving parents’ and caregivers’ knowledge, skills and parenting capacity. 

Our Facilitators said: “We also provide opportunities for children’s developmental and health needs to be assessed by a Child Health Nurse, who also attends Jarjums.”

“It’s the families who attend that brings the local knowledge to us. As facilitators, we encourage families to embrace what community and culture has to offer. Participants develop valuable social and family support networks and are encouraged and supported to share cultural knowledge,” said our Facilitators.

Learn more about our Early Years Centres in The Benevolent Society and contact us if you want to find out more.