Warrnambool Primary School’s revolutionary indigenous program has redefined attendance and enrolments for Aboriginal children and is a Victorian Education Excellence Award finalist.
Changing the tide @ Jamo program is one of three finalists in the Outstanding Koorie Education Award to be presented in Melbourne on Friday.
It is a labour of love by teacher Jacqui Gore who wanted to include more Aboriginal curriculum and create a greater cultural awareness.
The program began by building relationships with indigenous parents and the community.
Local indigenous artist Tracy Roach taught art initially and later helped Miss Gore develop the authentic program, guided by Koorie education officer Rob Lowe and aboriginal elder Rob Lowe senior.
A Warrnambool Histories and Culture Curriculum was developed and included age-appropriate lessons on art, dance, the stolen generation, languages and story telling.
Aboriginal enrolments at the school have jumped from an average of 12 to 42 children. Attendance rates have increased from 60 per cent a couple of years ago, to 89 per cent in 2015.
As a finalist, Miss Gore was invited to apply for the Lindsay Thompson Award for Excellence in Education individual award, which will also be announced on Friday.
Miss Roach, an Aboriginal educator who was part of the stolen generation, is emotional to know the sky is the limit for these children.
“I want to build a better future for the kids and to be all as one. The whole school should be acknowledged for what they’ve done for the Gunditjmara people here,” Miss Roach said.
Miss Gore thanked the leadership team, teachers and the school community for their support in rolling out the program.
“I’m proud, but it’s also a reflection of our staff, our school and the families. It shows the open mindedness and big hearts and comes from a united approach. They’ve embraced the change. To get this far is enough for me, we’re up there and we’re making a difference. It’s not me as an individual, it’s the team.”