Today, I would like to acknowledge the Yuggera people as the Traditional Custodians of the beautiful land I am standing on today. From the mountains to the river, I open my heart and my eyes as I walk this land, listening, learning and caring for Country. I want to extend this respect to Elders; past, present and emerging and to all First Nations peoples reading this post today. We are all remembered here.
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Do you remember doing Clean Up Australia Day when you were at school? I know I sure do! I mean, between; the rushing to get down to the undercover area, to the oh so fashionable and very environmentally friendly plastic gloves, that we used to make farting noises, until they turned into a sauna for our hands and sweat dripped down to our elbows. How could we forget it!
But another thing, aside from these not so good things, I just mentioned.
I do remember the really nice place this one day had in my heart. I always looked forward to it, because it was the one time of the year that the whole school, even our principal; with his very short, principal looking shorts, and socks as high as they come - came together to Care for Country. It was everyone, even kids in the big cities! It gave me a really good feeling inside my heart and boggled my little country mind at the same time.
Now, as a teacher and a mum, I look back and I think about how; for so many years, Clean Up Australia Day has been, somewhat of an after thought and in my opinion, a missed opportunity for teachers to embed First Nations perspectives and connect with the land that they teach on, and their students learn and play on, every day of the year.
So, this year I thought it would be a good opportunity, to get in early and share with you some First Nations Caring for Country resources, that you can use in the lead up to and on the day of, Clean Up Australia Day. To really get your students thinking about their role, and the responsibilities that we all have to care for Mother Earth every day of the year, no matter what Country you are on.
Alright, so here we go! 25, Yes, that's right! 25 First Nations Caring for Country resources to use for Clean Up Australia Day.
#1 Narragunnawali Caring for Country Professional Learning
And.... a great place for teachers to start is always professional learning and this one is perfect! It is created by the sensational team at Narragunnawali. This activity will give you an opportunity to 'explore what ‘Country’ means for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and why it is important to sustainably connect with, and care for, Country with sustainability practices.' This resource is free to use through the Narragunnawali website and is suitable for educators from early childhood through to high school.
#2 Narragunnawali Caring for Country Lesson Plan
Again created by the sensational team at Narragunnawali. This lesson, is an incredibly powerful lesson on caring for Country, that gives all students the opportunity to connect with the land they live and learn on, to; 'build a personal sense of responsibility for respecting and caring for the Country/place around them'. Your students will begin to develop an understanding of First Nations knowledge and land management practices related to caring for Country and sustainable ways of living. This resource is free to use through the Narragunnawali website and is suitable for primary school - Foundation/ Kindy / Prep through to year 6.
Written by Kirli Saunders and illustrated by Dub Leffler
Bindi is a cleverly written, playful First Nations verse novel with a strong message that speaks from First Nations ways of being, knowing and belonging and highlights the importance of caring for Country and living in sustainable ways.
It is suitable for students in years 4, 5 and 6 and covers the topics and subject areas including; English, history, geography, science and the arts.
And, I absolutely can't recommend Bindi enough!
#4 ABC Gardening Australia - Caring for Country with Senior Gundungarra Elder Aunty Sharyn Halls and Gundungarra Elder David King
#5 Story Doctors
Written by Boori Monty Pryor and illustrated by Rita Sinclair
Story Doctors is a stunning First Nations children's book that highlights Australia's true history and deep knowledge for a journey of medicine and healing through Country. It shares the powerful connection and responsibility we all need to have with Mother Earth, to begin our healing and bring us together as one.
Story Doctors is suitable for year 2 to year 7 and covers English, history, geography, science and the arts.
And, I know you will love Story Doctors just as much as I do!
Written by Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson Illustrated by Jasmine Seymour
Family, captures the deep family connections, our ways of knowing, and belonging that resonates in the hearts and minds of the children who read it. It celebrates the complexities and deep connections of First Nations family and kinship systems and shares a respect, a voice and a place for Country as a foundation of family.
Family is perfect for Foundation / prep / kindergarten through to year 4 and can be easily embedded into both your English and HASS programs.
The Our Place Series is one of my all time favourite First Nations children's book series and I know you will adore them too!
Written by Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson Illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
Respect is a story of peace, knowing and belonging, told through the eyes of a little girl on a journey of growing and learning from her Ancestors, Elders, Community and Country. As the book deepens, her knowledge grows and her knowing strengthens. Through First Nations ways of listening, learning and sharing, she becomes strong in her culture, Community and herself.
Respect is perfect for Foundation / prep / kindergarten through to year 4 and can be easily embedded into both your English and HASS programs.
The Our Place Series is truly one of my all time favourite First Nations children's book series and I know you will adore them too!
Written by Aunty Fay Muir & Sue Lawson Illustrated by Leanne Mulgo Watson
Sharing has been created with our littlest students and children in mind and is easy to read and understand by all readers. It is filled with endless support from the stunning illustrations spread across double pages, making it perfect for modelled reading and deep and meaningful group discussions and learning. Sharing truly is "A gentle reminder of all of the ways sharing makes us stronger."
Sharing is perfect for prep / kindergarten through to year 4 and can be easily embedded into both your English and geography programs.
The Our Place Series is one of my all time favourite First Nations children's book series and I know you will adore them too!
#9 NAIDOC Week Heal Country Poster
This 2021 NAIDOC Week poster, is the incredible work of Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie-Jean Douglas titled, Caring for Country and is free for download, from the NAIDOC website. It also comes with a free matching teaching guide (Set of lesson plans) making this resource perfect for exploring the topic of caring for Country for years to come.
The Heal Country 2021 NAIDOC Week poster is perfect for foundation / prep / kindergarten through to year 6 and can be easily embedded into your English, history, geography and the arts programs.
#10 NAIDOC Week Heal Country Teaching Guide
An incredible free teaching guide (Set of lesson plans) created for the 2021 NAIDOC Week theme 'Heal Country', and a perfect resource for years to come that explores caring for Country.
The Heal Country 2021 NAIDOC Week Teaching Guide is perfect for foundation / prep / kindergarten through to year 6 and can be easily embedded into your English, history, geography and the arts programs.
And, I honestly cannot recommend this enough!
#11 The Sugarbag
Written by Nola Turner - Jensen and illustrated by Dub Leffler
The Sugarbag is a gorgeous First Nations children's book that shares the adventure of Jimmy and Max. Jimmy uses his knowledge of Country, taught to him by his grandfather, to track a Native Stingless Bee and find Sugarbag to share with his family.
The Sugarbag is perfect for prep / kindergarten through to year 4 and can be easily embedded into your English, history, geography and science programs.
This book is always a go to in my teacher library and I know it will be in yours too.
#12 Welcome to Country
Written by Aunty Joy Murphy and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
Welcome to Country is such a stunningly captivating First Nations children's book, that welcomes its readers to the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri People through the celebration and connection to Country.
Welcome to Country is a very popular book among teachers and is go to resources for embedding an Acknowledgement of Country into your morning routine.
Welcome to Country is suitable for Foundation through to year 4 and can be easily embedded into your English, history, geography and science programs.
Welcome to Country is such a special book in my teacher library and I know it will be in yours too.
#13 Cooee Mittigar - A Story on Darug Songlines
Written by Jasmine Seymour and illustrated by Leanne Mulgo Watson
Cooee Mittigar - A Story on Darug Songlines is a breathtaking First Nations children's book, that shares the heartbeat of Darug life and seasons through First Nations ways of knowing and being.
Cooee Mittigar is a very popular choice for teachers, teaching on Darug Country and is perfect for topics on; Country, caring for Country, language and seasons.
Cooee Mittigar is suitable for Foundation through to year 4 and can be easily embedded into your English, history, geography, science and language (in consultation with Community) programs.
Cooee Mittigar - A Story On Darug Songlines is a personal favourite in my teacher library and Jasmine Seymour is a perfect author and illustrator to focus on for a First Nations Author and Illustrator study.
#14 Narragunnawali Reconciliation Garden Lesson Plan
This lesson created by the sensational team at Narragunnawali, is a perfect whole school project, that embraces reconciliation and creates a centralised space for celebrating First Nations peoples and knowledges, through a wide range of KLAs. This resource is free to use through the Narragunnawali website and is designed for primary school use.
#15 The River
Written by Sally Morgan and illustrated by Johnny Warrkatja Malibirr
The River is a simply beautiful First Nations children's book, that is perfect for celebrating and creating a love for the precious waterways all around us.
You will love the use of verbs throughout the book, which is also a great way begin creating those important connections and love for the Country that our students are learning and playing on each day.
The River is suitable for Foundation through to year 2 and can be easily embedded into your English, geography and science programs.
Having grown up with the river as a special part of our Community and our lives, this book now has a special place in my heart, my teacher library and now my students' hearts too. And, I know it will have a special place in your classroom too.
#16 Sea Country
Written by Aunty Patsy Cameron and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
Sea Country is a stunning First Nations children's book exploring Aunty Patsy Cameron's seasonal island life and traditions, in Tasmania with her family.
The illustrations, by the always incredible Lisa Kennedy, will be adored by all of your students and begin to form a love and connection to the land, skies and waterways, in their hearts.
Sea Country is suitable for year 2 through to year 6 and can be easily embedded into your; English, history, geography, science and art programs.
The first time I read Sea Country I was rendered absolutely speechless, by the stunning illustrations and the depth of knowledge embedded into each and every page. Sea Country has a special presence in my classroom and I know it will in yours too.
#17 Somebody's Land
Written by Adam Goodes & Ellie Laing and illustrated by David Hardy
Somebody's Land is a stunningly gentle First Nations children's book, that shares Australia's true history. It allows children as young as 4 years old, to celebrate the richness and beauty of life and culture, of First Nations peoples and communities. While giving students and children, an opportunity to grasp an understanding of the importance of land, Country and place to First Nations peoples, to develop a respect of why the term terra nullius, was the beginning of so much devastation.
Somebody's Land is suitable for Early Childhood through to year 3 and can be easily embedded into your; English, mathematics, history, geography, civics and citizenship, science and art programs.
Somebody's Land is the first book in the Welcome to Our Country Series and is a staple in my classroom teacher library and I know it will be in yours too.
#18 My Culture and Me
Written and illustrated by Gregg Dreise
My Culture and Me is a breathtakingly beautiful First Nations children's book, sharing First Nations ways of being, knowing and caring for Country.
"We need to look after and honour our connection to our lands.
We must listen to the spirits, from our hearts to our hands."
My Culture and Me is suitable for Foundation through to year 2 and can be easily embedded into your; English, history, geography, science and art programs.
My students and I absolutely adore My Culture and Me and I know you will too.
#19 Wiradjuri Country
Written by Larry Brandy
Wiradjuri Country is a very comprehensive First Nations information book, that is a journey through Country with Uncle Larry Brandy and includes everything from animals and plants to Wiradjuri stories and 'Deadly Facts'. Making it absolutely perfect for students living and learning on Wiradjuri Country.
Wiradjuri Country is suitable for Foundation through to year 6 and can be easily embedded into your; English, history, geography, science, mathematics, art, and language (in consultation with Community) programs.
Wiradjuri Country is such an incredible First Nations non fiction book that can be used all throughout the year! I love it and I know you will too!
#20 NITV Youtube Clip - Aboriginal Cultural burning returns to regional Victoria
#21 Wilam - A Birrarung Story
Written by Aunty Joy Murphy and Andrew Kelly and illustrated by Lisa Kennedy
Wilam - A Birrarung Story is a story of home and the beauty of Country. This stunning First Nations children's book will open your students eyes to Mother Earth's beauty from a First Nations perspective, while developing their own; love, connection and responsibility to care for the land that they live, learn and play on every day.
Wilam - A Birrarung Story is suitable for Foundation through to year 6 and can be easily embedded into your; English, history, geography, science and art programs.
Wilam was a perfect addition to our literacy lesson, for my year 1 class to explore the beauty of Country and develop their connection and love for the land they learn and play on each day. And I know you and your students will love it too!
#22 My Country
Written by Ezekiel Kwaymullina and Illustrated by Sally Morgan
My Country, is a vibrantly rich celebration of Country that will have your students falling in love with all that Mother Earth shares with us, in each day of every season. And give them the opportunity, to connect and care for the friends and family all around us.
"I love my country."
My Country is suitable for Early Childhood through to year 2 and can be easily embedded into your; English, geography, science and art programs.
My students always request to read My Country when we have a spare moment or two in class and I know it is because they just adore the beautiful illustrations, and how they can interact so easily with the text, using hand actions as we read together.
#23 The Little Corroboree Frog
Written by Tracey Holten - Ramirez and illustrated by Angela Ramirez
The Little Corroboree Frog is a gorgeous First Nations children's book, that shares with us, how the thoughtlessness of humans, is threatening the homes and lives of Australia's most endangered species; the Corroboree Frog.
"The boy showed his father the tadpole nests and they decided to clean up the rubbish"
The Little Corroboree Frog is suitable for Foundation through to year 4 and can be easily embedded into your; English, geography, science, and art programs.
After I read this with my daughter we used recycled materials, to create a small diorama of the frog pond and then added in some pretend rubbish. Using small tweezers, we pulled out all of the rubbish to clean up the Little Corroboree Frog's home. We absolutely LOVE this book and I know you will too!
#24 Our World Bardi Jaawi At Ardiyoolool
Written and illustrated by One Arm Point Remote Community School
Our World Bardi Jaawi Life At Ardiyooloon is a true celebration of the deep knowledge of the Bardi Jaawi people, on each and every one, of it's 64 pages, and will leave you with a mountainous number of opportunities for embedding this book into your program. Covering over 20 topic areas, including; seasons, bush food, family, history and an English - Bardi wordlist, this book really does have everything!
Our World is suitable for year 3 through to year 6 and can be easily embedded into your English, geography, science, mathematics history, programs.
This book is so comprehensive and I honestly can't recommend it enough!
#25 Bush to Bowl 5 FREE lesson plans for years 1 & 2
"This resource serves as an example of a teaching and learning sequence focused on engaging students in traditional Aboriginal knowledge of native plants and bush foods. The content and activities can be adapted to differentiate to students of varying needs and abilities who are accessing the curriculum at different stages. This resource describes a sequence of five lessons which follows the 5-Es learning model for guided science inquiry." ©Bush To Bowl
Oh wow, you made it to the end! That is absolutely incredible and I am so excited to have shared all 25 of these amazing resources with you. I hope there has been something useful in there for you, and maybe even something you want to share with other teachers at your school too.
Want to buy these resources?
As you know, some of these resources are, resources that you buy and I am so proud to have partnered up with Deb from Riley Callie Resources; a Supply Nation First Nations business specialising in First Nations teaching resources, to be able to give you the opportunity to buy through my website. So, when you buy through the links on my website or in this blog post, you will be supporting both Deb and I as First Nations women, to continue doing the work that we love to do and everything we share with you. And for that, we are eternally grateful!
Your part in our community
I feel so honoured to be able to share all of these incredible resources with you but I also believe it is important for us all to share with each other, to help us grow as teachers and support each other in our individual journeys too. If you found this post helpful, then reach out and share it with a teacher friend or you can share something in the comments to help another member of our incredible teaching community.
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Thank you so much for spending this time with me and for using your time to listen, learn, unlearn and share, together we will make a difference.
As always, happy embedding!