New space at JRLF Senior School to foster culture and inclusion

by Brighton Council
Art is a big focus at JRLFSS. Pic Supplied.

Jordan River Learning Federation Senior School (JRLFSS) has a new Aboriginal cultural space that was established this year. Milangkani is a cultural space for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students to build connection with culture, country and the school community. Assistant Principal, Inclusive Practices, Jill Alexander explained, “It was a very important step for the school to ensure we are meeting First Nation students’ needs, with 37% of the school community identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.”

Paul Mabb, the coordinator of Milangkani explained, “Students can come in and learn about all aspects of culture. At the moment we are doing this predominantly through art and language using the 50 palawa words program from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC).”

JRLF Senior School is also pleased to be able to offer the Deadly Choices program in this space, which is run by Karadi Aboriginal Corporation. The program is all about making healthy life choices, developing a positive self-identity and making friendships. A large number of students have been interested in participating in the Deadly Choices program and this popularity has meant there is a wait list. At the end of the program, the students receive a Deadly Choices t-shirt as part of their graduation as recognition of their participation in at least five out of the eight sessions.

It is important that the space is welcoming of all students and promotes acceptance and understanding of everyone within the school community. “There are many future activities planned, including basket weaving, bark paintings and working with clay. Art is a big focus for facilitating connection and acceptance. We will also be doing an excursion to TMAG soon to experience the Tasmanian Aboriginal section,” Paul said.

Those students participating in the Milangkani space are also in the process of designing artwork for new tables within the space as part of using art to connect and feel a sense of belonging. “Our hope for the space is that students can share knowledge, connect with each other or just enjoy a quiet place to study. We want the room to develop based on what our students would like to learn so they can truly make it their space,” Paul said.

Jill Alexander & Paul Mabb from JRLFSS. Pic supplied

Celebrating diversity is a very important part of the school community overall and as part of this, the School Health Nurse and School Social Worker co-facilitate a Pride Group. This weekly group is a safe and inclusive space for young people to meet that promotes positive well-being and social connection. Through this group young people can develop friendships, access support and resources and have their issues and suggestions heard. It also promotes emotional well-being and creative means of self-expression through the facilitation of arts and crafts projects, which has proven popular amongst students. Whole school events can also be organised, such as the recent ‘Wear It Purple Day’. This day celebrated LGBTIQA+ youth and demonstrated inclusivity school-wide.

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New space at JRLF Senior School to foster culture and inclusion
New space at JRLF Senior School to foster culture and inclusion
New space at JRLF Senior School to foster culture and inclusion
New space at JRLF Senior School to foster culture and inclusion
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New space at JRLF Senior School to foster culture and inclusion
New space at JRLF Senior School to foster culture and inclusion
New space at JRLF Senior School to foster culture and inclusion
New space at JRLF Senior School to foster culture and inclusion
February – March 2024

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