Education journeys in the North West

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Just four weeks before this edition of ‘Revive’ went to print, Gail Cresswell packed up her things in Margaret River, in WA’s south west, and moved to Mowanjum, a remote Aboriginal  community in the north of WA on the outskirts of Derby. With a passion for education in Indigenous communities, she is starting up a Montessori program for kids under three.

Montessori is an alternative form of education that encourages independence by creating an environment for children to learn at their own pace. Gail said that the system focuses  heavily on learning by observation and involves lots of one-on-one interaction. “It’s about each child,” she said. “It’s a learning journey for each child.”

“It’s about the kids learning to be resilient and learning to be responsible to themselves.”

It is also a system that has been highly successful in Indigenous communities around Australia. Towards the end of August, Gail and her assistant, Daphne Gilbey, a member of the  Mowanjum community, will be attending the Thursday Island Montessori Summit where they’ll be exploring the benefits of the Montessori approach in Indigenous cultures. Continue Reading

Building relationships, growing leadership

Revive has previously reported on the relationship between All Saint’s Floreat Uniting Church and the people of Mowanjum, a remote Aboriginal community near Derby. Volunteers from the congregation have been running school holiday programs for the Mowanjum kids for several years now, in response to disturbing statistics on youth suicide in the area. The  program has had a positive effect in Mowanjum, and people from the Floreat congregation are also seeing effects among their own community. Continue Reading