In-School Mentoring to Promote Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

In-School Mentoring to Promote Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures

St Agnes’ Catholic Primary Matraville had a positive experience when it engaged CaSPA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adviser Sharon Zeeman to work with the school’s 17 Aboriginal students to develop a performance for the school’s Indigenous Day.

The focus was on giving the school’s Aboriginal students an opportunity to learn more about their cultures, to create a performance that told stories through dance and to showcase it to the rest of the school. Another aim was that the performance and ‘Q & A’ after would contribute to whole school knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Principal Milena Colussi said CaSPA mentor Sharon Zeeman was exceptional. “I can’t speak highly enough of her. She is a true professional and really knows her stuff.

“Nothing was too difficult – she coordinated costumes, was very flexible to work with, positive and professional – and it was very evident in the way she engaged with the children that she loves what she does.

“It was also wonderful how Sharon talked about her background, her country and history with our 17 Aboriginal students, which made them feel comfortable knowing others are going through the same journey.”

Mrs Colussi said the parents were very appreciative and valued that their children were coming to know their background and were having an opportunity to express it in a creative way.

“The result was a wonderful performance from our Aboriginal students that they were very proud of. Their confidence grew through learning about their cultures and performing to the rest of the school. Even some of the very shy ones performed confidently and proudly on our Indigenous Day.

“I’d wholeheartedly recommend CaSPA Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in-school mentoring to other schools. Sharon was a wonderful role model for our students and it was a great outcome for all.”