Local students will gain a better understanding of Goldfields Aboriginal culture this year as Boulder Primary School continues to roll out its Wongutha language program.
The weekly lessons were introduced to the school’s Year 3 students last year, with classes expected to build on their vocabulary and pronunciation in the years to come.
Aboriginal inclusion officer Des Anderson is in the final stages of becoming a qualified language teacher and has been conducting the Wongutha lessons under the mentorship of Year 3 teacher Melissa Wilson.
Mr Anderson said it had been encouraging to see the students improve on their language skills last year. “Some kids pick it up pretty quick but with others you have to say the sound and the syllables a few times,” he said.
“Sometimes I make a song out of it and then they remember the sentence pattern easier.”
Born and raised in Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Mr Anderson said it was important for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students to have a basic understanding of the Wongutha language.
“If they are somewhere in town and an Aboriginal person needs help, they might be able to talk back to them and help them,” he said.
“Some of the Wongutha kids here have lost the language or only know bits and pieces so what I am trying to do is teach them the whole sentence.”
Mrs Wilson grew up in the Goldfields and said she wished she had been given the opportunity to learn an Aboriginal language as a child.
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