The Studio School’s on country learning acknowledges, embraces and explores the deep cultural and spiritual connection Aboriginal Australians have to the land.
Experiencing land, culture and community
Our on country approach champions learning through experience. Using the 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning, the program connects students to traditional learning practices that explore the local land, culture and community.
Guided by teachers, mentors, and Aboriginal Elders students learn about the local environment, customs, cultures and history while developing social, industry, communication, numeracy, and literacy skills.
Many on country activities engage local community members and organisations. This strengthens the Studio School’s role within the community, and develops avenues for students to serve their own communities once they leave school.
The benefits of learning on country
For Aboriginal students, learning on country at Yiramalay:
- helps them engage with their own culture and identity, and build a deeper connection to the land
- makes classroom learning more relevant and practical, and creates industry learning opportunities
- teaches them about Bunuba culture, traditions and languages
- empowers them to share knowledge about Aboriginal cultures with others, including visiting Wesley College students and their friends and families.
For Wesley College students, learning on country helps them:
- explore a range of beliefs and practices in a place of historical and environmental significance
- build relationships across cultures
- understand the significance of land and connection to land for Aboriginal Australians.
The learning on country program at Yiramalay includes:
- learning about local languages, history and skin groups (with Aboriginal students often teaching each other, as well as visiting Wesley students)
- exploring local sites of historical and cultural significance with Elders, and getting involved in traditional storytelling
- experiencing the land through hunting expeditions, learning about and collecting bush medicine and preparing bush tucker
- taking part in traditional art and dance workshops and performances
- working autonomously and as part of a team handling cattle at Leopold Downs Cattle Station.
"Country is about connection. It’s more than the land – it’s our identity, it heals, and it gives us spiritual guidance. Country is where we teach and learn. It’s where we belong."