Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and Baynton West Primary School to partner in early learning

Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and Baynton West Primary School to partner in early learning

Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (MAC) and Baynton West Primary School in Karratha have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to formally partner in the Waja Guma Early Learning Program.

Waja Guma, which means ‘Little Children Learning Together’ in Ngarluma, was established by Baynton West Primary as an Early Learning Program in 2021 with MAC and the Murujuga Elders’ cultural guidance and support. Rio Tinto has funded the program since 2021.

It has seen 33 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and 54 children participate in culturally-led and supportive early learning activities.

MAC, representing the Yabuara people who are the Traditional Owners for Murujuga and four Traditional Custodial groups – the Ngarluma, Mardudhunera, Yindjibarndi, and Wong-Goo-Tt-Oo – has played an ongoing role in Waja Guma, including MAC Rangers paying visits and leading on- country excursions as well as the provision of cultural advice on items such as the outdoor play space.

Now, following strong attendance rates and positive feedback from parents, MAC will formally partner with Baynton West Primary in the Program, thus assisting in securing further funding from government and industry and ensuring that Waja Guma continues to grow and improve.

Comments by MAC CEO Kim Wood:
“MAC is very proud to have provided in-kind support and cultural guidance to Waja Guma over the past three years.

“Culturally safe early learning is recognised as an effective way to improve education and health outcomes for our people.

“MAC is excited to extend our role in Waja Guma through a formal partnership that will enable it to grow and expand.”

Comments by Baynton West Primary School Principal Lisa Ledger:
“We are so pleased to be able to work closely with MAC, the ongoing support they offer us assists us become a more culturally safe and responsive learning community.

“The benefits of Waja Guma are already evident, with more and more families joining this evidenced based and unique early learning program.”

Comments by Rio Tinto Vice President of Health, Safety, Environment and Communities Cecile Thaxter:

“Early childhood education services in regional WA face unique challenges so it’s important we invest in quality education programs, particularly for Aboriginal children.

“This co-designed, culturally safe and free of charge program embraces parents and caregivers as the child’s first and most influential teacher.

“Together with Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation and Baynton West Primary School, we are proud to be able to provide Aboriginal children in Karratha with a strong social and educational foundation on which they can build on later in life.”

Photo (credit: Waja Guma): Student Dianna Munda and Educator Kylie Giddens with MAC Rangers Jade Churnside and Caleb Pitt-Cook at Waja Guma’s Closing the Gap Day event in March.

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