New life for yarning circle
15 December 2021
A primary school in Perth’s southern suburbs has revitalised its yarning circle to provide a gathering space that serves as a sustainable outdoor classroom and an area to sit and connect to country.
Hilton Primary School enhanced the existing 15-year-old yarning circle by repainting the original Noongar six season poles and highlighting the natural surroundings, all while maintaining reference to the community who made it more than a decade ago.
The new outdoor learning space now incorporates the yarning circle as well as an outdoor stage, fire pit, seed nursery, butterfly garden, bush trail, nature play spaces, recycling centre and wild space.
To open the yarning circle, the school hosted an event that included a Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony and dance, with local Elders and members of the community attending.
Aboriginal students from Hilton Primary School and John Curtin College of the Arts came together to perform a specially choreographed dance at the ceremony.
Hilton Primary School principal Carmel Bochenek said the yarning circle was an acknowledgement of the school being on Whadjuk Noongar Boodja.
“Enhancing the yarning circle is an example of how we teach and learn over time, bringing members of our community together,” she said.
“At Hilton Primary School we believe that everything we intentionally teach inside a classroom, we can also teach outside.”
Dr Bochenek said the yarning circle was used as a meeting place for families, for class teaching, for events and as a space to enjoy quiet time.
“The yarning circle and other outdoor classrooms also provide a safe space for students to self-regulate and continue social-emotional teaching and learning,” she said.
“Personally, the yarning circle represents the current strength and the great potential of our lovely school.
“It is a serene gift in our busy school days, a place to meet and talk, hold memorials and share hopes.”