Building the Vision together – parent survey and Ngunnawal cultural education opportunities

Reimagining business as usual

The thing that we have missed the most in this most unusual of years, has been the opportunity to come together as a community face-to-face. This has meant your P&C have really needed to rethink our ‘business as usual’ approaches. We are so pleased and grateful for everyone’s willingness to try new ways of community building (our design workshop last week where we had 16 attending the meeting in person and 12 on Zoom is testament to this). Despite the obstacles, this project does seem to be providing all of us with an opportunity to collectively work towards a goal that will benefit everyone.

Progress to date

We are halfway through the consultation process and we have all learnt so much already and are really imagining what could be possible.  

Ngunnawal cultural education sessions

This week, the first of two planned Ngunnawal cultural education sessions were run by Uncle Tyronne Bell and Adam Shipp.

Adam has been a tireless advocate for native food plants in Canberra for many years, and his sample food were very popular with the students, with lots of kids asking for extra toasted kurrajong seeds (they taste like nutty popcorn!). Participating students tried bush tucker foods, examined indigenous artefacts like axes, stone knives, coolamons and boomerangs, learnt some Ngunnawal language and were given an introduction to significant local sites. 

The next session will take place in week 7 where the students will be taken for a guided walk around the school grounds where we have many native plants and native food plants growing already, enabling our students to see their surroundings through new eyes and hopefully gain some inspiration for the oval design.

Parents and families will also have an opportunity to attend Ngunnawal culture sessions. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet a local elder, and learn more about the Country on which we live, learn and play every day. Click the link below to register for the sessions.

Week 6 (choose one time) Tues 25th (3:30-5pm) Tues 25th (5:30-7pm)
Week 7 (choose one time) Mon 31st (3:30-5pm) Tues 1st Sept (5:30-7pm)

Parent consultations

Last Tuesday night we hosted the first Parent design workshop, with an introduction to the design process from Paul Barnett, and a wide-ranging conversation covering how we played as children, right through to the cost-effectiveness of different water harvesting and storage techniques. Our at-home “Zoomers” were actively engaged in the conversation, and had some fantastic input and feedback. Thanks to all who attended.

What we are focused on now

This middle phase of consultation is focused on Needs and Ideas – what do we need included, and what sorts of ideas do we want to include.

The students are having these conversations in their classrooms, our school staff will be exploring them in a workshop next week, and for all families we invite you to have your say by taking part in this survey. We want to hear your ideas, thoughts, needs and wants.

 The final three weeks of this term will see our student leaders, working with family and school staff representatives, and guided by our expert design team, bring these needs and ideas together in a set of concept designs. We anticipate that by week 10, the concept designs will be made available for feedback. The draft Master Plan will be finalised based on this feedback.

Finances and Funding

In our last blog we noted that the P&C and the school have each put $50,000 towards the project. Advocacy by the P&C has also raised in excess of $60,000 funding, from the  Education Directorate and EPSDD. We are also working to keep costs down, with a team forming to begin gathering donations of materials like rocks and logs when they become available, and considering propagation and other options for sourcing plants.

We will continue to seek these sorts of avenues to bring further support to the project.

 A big thanks to everyone working so tirelessly behind the scenes, and we hope to see you at an event soon!

 

 

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